10 Things You Lose When Using Nature Photographs in Healthcare Environments

By Kurt Johnson Photography • April 30, 2022

Allina Health Behavioral Health Installation with autumn trees on largescale wallcovering environmental graphic

When we think about the benefits of biophilic design, it’s easy to count all the advantages of integrating nature into healthcare environments.  But what about the things you lose when using nature photographs in healthcare environments?

Incorporating nature into built environments has tons of research to support it.  And it makes sense.  Nature makes us feel better.

Adding living plants to indoor spaces improves air quality and provides a calming focal point that connects us to our primal need for nature.

Having lots of windows that allow natural light to shine through is another effective tenement of biophilic design that lets in a healthy amount of Vitamin D and improves our mood and focus.

But when you want to improve patient outcomes and increase staff retention in a building without a lot of natural light or in an environment where plants can’t thrive, how can you do this? Is it even possible?

What if I told you that by incorporating biophilic design elements, like soothing nature photographs, into your wellness facility can benefit the entire care team because of the 10 things you’ll lose by doing it?  Sounds, crazy, right?!

midwest wildflower landscape with winding river at sunset as the sun fades behind a lush hill with sunlight bursting in a star shape across a field of tall grasses

In his article, Art in Healthcare, in HealthCare Design Magazine, Michael Lehman explains how art is a positive distraction, directly or indirectly, in a variety of situations. And the benefits of using the right artwork can measurably reduce these 10 things:

  1. Anxiety and stress in patients and staff
  2. Pain perception as measured by things such as blood pressure and heart rate, including findings in patient pain-rating scales and surveys
  3. The need for pain medication
  4. Depression often associated with chemotherapy, dialysis, and other invasive treatments
  5. Non-operative treatment times
  6. Operative recovery times
  7. Mental healthcare treatment times
  8. Abusive behaviors by mental healthcare patients
  9. Lengths of hospital stays
  10. Employee turnover and missed days

green trees healing forest forest bathing healing landscape nature images photography
I don’t know about you, but those are 10 things I think most healthcare facilities would be happy to reduce or eliminate in their wellness environments.

So instead of thinking about all the things you’ll gain by adding nature photography to your wellness environment, you should think about all the things you’ll be losing which, as you can see, are things we’d all benefit from letting go of.

Categories: Healing, Healthcare, Research

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