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Indoor plant intervention: New answers for health care design?
Date:12/29/2010

NORWAY Could a plant "intervention" improve the well-being of patients in a difficult rehab process? Scientists from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Sweden's Uppsala University investigated this question in a recent study of 436 coronary and pulmonary patients at a Norwegian rehabilitation center. The results were published in HortScience. Ruth Kjrsti Raanaas, Grete Grindal Patil, and Terry Hartig studied the effects of an indoor plant intervention during a 2-year study conducted at the Rros Rehabilitation Center. The experiment showed that patients' overall physical and mental health improved during the program, but the presence of new plants did not increase the degree of improvement. One encouraging finding: pulmonary patients in the "plant intervention group" reported a larger increase in well-being during their rehabilitation program more often than lung patients from the "no-plant" control group.

For the intervention, 28 new plants were placed in common areas at the rehab center, which had previously contained only a few poorly maintained plants. Aside from the introduction of the new plants and removal of some older plants, no other changes were made to the interior decoration during the study period. Coronary and pulmonary patients completed self-assessments upon arrival at the center, after 2 weeks, and at the end of a 4-week program. The research project, designed to investigate whether the addition of indoor plants in the common areas would improve self-reported physical and mental health, subjective well-being, and emotions among patients over the course of their rehabilitation program, was funded by the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation, the Norwegian Gardener's Union, the Bank of Rros, Tropisk Design, and Primaflor.

According to Raanaas, the team found no "significant direct effects" of the plant intervention on change in either of the self-reported health outcomes. "The results did, howev
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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