Mar 12

Nature in Healing: A Story About Reducing Pain Medication

By: Vicki Nelson


The Southwest Rehab Hospital project was an opportunity to witness the power of abundant daylighting and views of the natural world. While evidence-based design research has repeatedly confirmed that natural light and views lower stress levels, aid in healing, and lower pain levels, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of seeing the positive effects of design in action.

During our 1-year post-occupancy evaluation, the Medical Director informed us that, compared to the hospital's former location within an older community hospital building, staff has seen a 50% reduction in pain medication prescribed to the rehabilitation patients.

Located on an 8.5 acre site in the heart of Battle Creek, Michigan, the 40,000 square foot replacement hospital offers 26 inpatient beds as well as outpatient services and wellness facilities. The interior layout positions patient rooms and therapy spaces to take advantage of the site's pond and wooded areas. The site was developed to provide therapy activities and includes a walkway surrounding the pond with seating areas and fishing spots interspersed.

Tags: Architecture, Healthcare