Thursday, December 19, 2013

The sun is not only a painter but a sculptor.

With thanks to Judy Miller--one of the finest nursing administrators I have met--now at Galloway Consulting.  Look at this lovely excerpt from Florence Nightingale:

Light essential to both health and recovery.  
It is the unqualified result of all my experience with the sick, that second only to their need of fresh air is their need of light; that, after a close room, what hurts them most is a dark room. And that it is not only light but direct sun-light they want. I had rather have the power of carrying my patient about after the sun, according to the aspect of the rooms, if circumstances permit, than let him linger in a room when the sun is off. People think the effect is upon the spirits only. This is by no means the case. The sun is not only a painter but a sculptor. You admit that he does the photograph. Without going into any scientific exposition we must admit that light has quite as real and tangible effects upon the human body. But this is not all. Who has not observed the purifying effect of light, and especially of direct sunlight, upon the air of a room? Here is an observation within everybody's experience. Go into a room where the shutters are always shut (in a sick room or a bedroom there should never be shutters shut), and though the room be uninhabited, though the air has never been polluted by the breathing of human beings, you will observe a close, musty smell of corrupt air, of air i.e. unpurified by the effect of the sun's rays. The mustiness of dark rooms and corners, indeed, is proverbial. The cheerfulness of a room, the usefulness of light in treating disease is all-important.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There was a study I saw many years ago in a surgery journal, studying the effect of hospital rooms with windows looking out to garden or arboreal views on the rate of recovery from gall bladder surgery (before the era of laparoscopy). If I remember correctly, those patients who recovered in windowless rooms required 2 or 3 more days to achieve discharge than those with windows looking out onto pastoral settings outside the hospital. The effect was quite large. This was at a time when the surgical ICU I was in charge of at the MGH was windowless, affecting not only medical and nursing staff, but probably patients as well. The other surgical ICU did have windows in most of the patient cubicles.

Interestingly, the new Lunder Building at the MGH which houses the neuro ICU has windows looking out on to specially designed roof gardens, but the windows are at the head of the bed so the patient can't see out, although they do receive daylight. Your reminder is important.