Garden as Restorative Environment for Hospitalized Children

Said, Ismail (2009) Garden as Restorative Environment for Hospitalized Children. In: 1st National Conference on Environment-Studies, 14th-15th November 2009, UiTM, Shah Alam.


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Hospitalisation often causes stress to children. Children perceive the affordances of the ward not match to their demands. As a result they react regressively, experiencing symptoms such as excessive fear, anxiety, boredom, increased clinging to and dependence on parents, and recluse. However, participating in garden activities, either in passive or active mode, reduces the stress. It means the garden provides positive affordances that increased the children performances. As a result the children behave progressively such as being relaxed, feeling comfort and calm, being cheerful and fascinated, cooperative towards medication, more active and decreased social withdrawal. In childhood healthcare, the change from regressive behaviours to progressive ones is considered as restoration. This is because there is positive shift of cognitive, physical and social performances, from low in the hospital ward to higher level in the garden.This study examines the restorative effects of a hospital garden on middle childhood paediatric patients (n=31) at the children’s ward of Batu Pahat Hospital in Malaysia. Patient performances were elicited using a research study design called observational study with paired data; comparing the differences of the children’s performances between the ward and the garden. The data were gathered from three sources, patients, mothers and ward’s staff using three methods, behavioural mapping, interviews, and questionnaires. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. The garden provided five times more positive affordances and half as many negative affordances as the ward. These differences suggest that the garden effectively shifted the patients’ performances from low to higher levels. Cognitively, the children shifted their functioning from being boredom, fearful, anxiety and restlessness in the ward to being relaxed, comfort and calm, cheerful and forgetting worries in the garden. Physically, the shift is from being passive and sedentary in the ward to being active; participating in the garden activities. And, socially, the shift is noticeable from being alone and recluse in the ward to being playing with peers and cooperative with the caregivers in medical protocols, respectively. The study concludes that the properties and attributes of the garden afforded the children to function progressively leading to their well-being. Keywords:

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: pediatric patients, restorative environment, affordances
Divisions: Faculty of Built Environment > Landscape Architecture
Depositing User: FAB IR Admin
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2013 05:49
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2013 05:49

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