More Than a Hotel
I think part of the problem is that we don't really know what these themes mean ourselves. We have a sense what holistic is. We can certainly tell what it isn't. But what is a healing environment? Again, I have to give props the folks at The Center for Health Design. They can provide hard, demonstrable research on which environments promote healing. But I still think there is more. I believe we have confined ourselves by the concept of the hospital or hospital room. Putting a plant in each patient room is nice, but it doesn't "bring nature to the bedside". Good design can certainly go a long way. If your hospital room looks more like a hotel than a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, then you are in good shape. In fact, I believe that good design will separate the hospitals of choice from all the rest.
But these is more work to be done. All a hotel has to do is sell you their experience for your one night stop over or your one week vacation. A hospital is where you must go for healing, for restoring what was once whole in your life. I won't accept that that has to take place in a sterile room...where you sit for hours or days...watching television. A truly healing environment will provide tranquility and rest, but it will also engage the person. So you might be tied to an IV pole, but at least you could be looking at beautiful art or strolling through a meditative garden or writing a letter to your best friend telling her that you have decided to live. When we figure out how to engage the patient in healing, through the physical space and the experience, then we will have created a healing environment.