Flowering plants speed post-surgery recovery

December 31st, 2008 - 11:27 am ICT by IANS  

Kansas State UniversityWashington, Dec 31 (IANS) Contact with greenery is known to rejuvenate the mind and induce positive feelings, reduce stress, and provide distraction from pain associated with recovery from surgery. Now, research has confirmed the beneficial effects of plants and flowers for patients recovering from abdominal surgery.A recent study by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson, researchers from the Department of Horticulture, Recreation and Forestry at Kansas State University, provides strong evidence that contact with plants is directly beneficial to a hospital patient’s health.

Using various equipment, the study set out to evaluate if plants in hospital rooms have therapeutic influences.

Studies show that when patients are highly stressed over surgery, they typically experience more severe pain and a slower recovery period.

Some of these problems are treated through the use of anaesthetics and analgesics, but, if not properly administered, the drugs can have side effects ranging from vomiting and headaches to drug dependency or even fatality.

It is therefore beneficial to patients and care providers to develop approaches that improve the overall patient experience without relying on pharmaceuticals.

The study was conducted on 90 patients recovering from an appendectomy. They were randomly assigned to hospital rooms with or without plants during their postoperative recovery periods, said a university release. The study was published in HortTechnology.

Patients with plants in their rooms had significantly fewer intakes of pain medication, more positive physiological responses (lower blood pressure and heart rate), less pain, anxiety and fatigue, and better overall positive and higher satisfaction with their recovery rooms than their counterparts in the control group without plants in their rooms.

An interesting note to this study - the majority of patients who had plants in their rooms reported that the plants were the most positive qualities of their rooms (93 percent), whereas patients without plants in their rooms said that watching television was the most favourable aspect of their rooms (91 percent).

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