northside hospital cherokee a healing space, inside and out
Imagine this: You're having the most hectic day at work as a property manager on an Atlanta commercial property. Your commute to the office was busy and, as the day progresses, the headaches keep piling up. Your stress levels are at an all-time high.
But, in the afternoon, you take a moment to walk along the grounds of your property, enjoying the outdoors. The nature around you slowly relaxes and nurtures you. The rapid change in temperament you experience just by being in nature causes calming physiological and psychological changes in your body. It's almost as if the worst of the day is completely erased.
What if these changes could be induced and enhanced? What if they could affect multiple people at once? And what if those people were already in physiological or psychological turmoil, so nature's positive influence would make an even greater impact? If nature could affect and possibly reduce the stress of one person's busy workday, imagine how it could change the temperament of people in need, like those in a hospital.
Landscaping at a hospital is more than watering turfgrass or keeping walkways free from snow and ice. A hospital landscape creates a backdrop for one of the most important tools in the medical arsenal: nature. A healing landscape can project a feeling of hope and certainty to all those who pass through the hospital's door.
That's certainly true at facilities like Northside Hospital-Cherokee, whose beautiful landscape welcomes patients and visitors alike to the grounds. The 84-bed nonprofit hospital is based in Canton, Georgia, staffs more than 450 physicians and 1,200 employees and is committed to advancing healthcare in Cherokee County.
The maintenance behind this powerful tool is just as important as the landscape itself, and that's why HighGrove Partners pays close attention to the landscape and facility at Northside Hospital-Cherokee.
"People come into the hospital and the first thing they see are the large trees, the gazebo and the flowers."
Billy Hayes, CEO
Here's a look at the hospital's healing landscape— and how HighGrove helps to care for it.
Creating Beauty at Northside Hospital-Cherokee
Inasmuch as hospitals have developed and changed throughout the years, so too has the importance of nature taken root in the hospital environment.
Studies have shown that even brief visual encounters with natural settings can elicit significant physiological and psychological restoration within as little as three to five minutes.
"People come into the hospital and the first thing they see are the large trees, the gazebo and the flowers," explains Northside Hospital-Cherokee CEO Billy Hayes. "Making that good first impression with guests, patients, family members and others who come into the hospital is critical."
Seasonal color services are just one of the additions that welcome patients and visitors to Northside Hospital-Cherokee. Bulbs like tulips brighten the landscape in spring, flowering perennials and annuals like dragon wing begonias add brilliant color in summer, and pansies and violas accent the changing scenery in autumn. These colors erupt in six large beds where people can enjoy them on the property.
Because of the beauty of the grounds, Northside Hospital-Cherokee was even voted theCherokee Tribune's Yard of the Month in July 2014 by the Canton Tree City Commission.
"As you approach the hospital entrance you are greeted with color and beauty in the cultivated beds," the commission said when they made the choice, adding that the numerous colorful and textural grasses and blooming plants are noticeable throughout the entrance circle that leads up to the hospital.
"It's not uncommon to walk out there at any time of day and see people enjoying the gazebo or walking around the grounds and admiring the flowers," Hayes explains. "Without a doubt, hospitals are stressful environments. Anxiety is normally high in people visiting the facility, and people may not be in the state of mind they would normally be in. The landscape with fresh flowers, the gazebo and trees, as well as places to sit and unwind, provides a holistic and soothing environment for people."
A Little Maintenance Goes A Long Way
At Northside Hospital-Cherokee, HighGrove crews provide a full-service maintenance program, including weekly mowing, edging and pruning, in addition to regular pine straw mulching, lawn care services, irrigation maintenance and seasonal color services.
Northside Hospital-Cherokee has a gazebo area in front of its facility with one of the area's largest living elm trees, as well as some large oak trees.
A lot of patients and their families and visitors enjoy this space, so proper tree care is essential and also a part of Northside Hospital's landscape maintenance program.
Sterile Environment Inside, Clean Spaces Outside
Even though green spaces, patios, sitting areas, water features and hardscapes all help induce calm and tranquility while reducing the stresses and anxieties that often accompany hospitals and care facilities, there are still cleanup tasks that need to be performed to keep these areas aesthetically pleasing.
HighGrove Partners provides a unique service to Northside Hospital-Cherokee to ensure the property maintains cleanliness each and every day: Crews perform daily porter services where they pick up trash, empty approximately 50 trash cans and use power blowers to clean off entranceways.
This ensures the space is patrolled additionally every single day and is kept as neat and tidy as possible, so patients, visitors and hospital staff can enjoy it. Because the facility is open 24 hours a day, with people constantly coming and going, this service is crucial, not only for patients and family members but for hospital staff as well.
"If it looks poor in quality on the outside, people would attribute that to poor quality on the inside. So it's critical that we keep the property neat and pick up the trash," Hayes says. "I also think it makes the staff feel good and proud about where they work when they drive up and see a facility that looks aesthetically pleasing."
Forging A Partnership Through The Landscape
Northside Hospital-Cherokee's annual Easter Eggstravaganza is a particularly important event for community members and their children, drawing up to 2,000 children, plus their family members, each year.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Special Care Nursery at Northside Hospital-Cherokee.
"There are thousands of people here and the grounds need to look good for the event; we need to put our best foot forward," Hayes explains. Because it's such a special day for the hospital, HighGrove Partners volunteers to prepare the grounds for the festivities with cleanup and maintenance services.
The company also provides volunteers on site on the day of the event to help with activity booths for the children, such as face painting, the petting zoo, carnival games and arts and crafts. Additionally, the company furnishes decorative centerpieces for the tables at the Easter Eggstravaganza.
By providing services and helping the hospital with special events like the Easter Eggstravaganza, HighGrove Partners has secured a positive, seven-year relationship with Northside Hospital-Cherokee.