Hospice House Designed with Nature in Mind

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A recent article in the Kansas City Star “Hospital gardens bloom with a healing power for the spirit as well as the body featured the Kansas City Hospice House™.

Excerpt “The benefits of nature in medical care extend further than curing the patient. Integration with the outdoors is also used in hospice care.

KC Hospice House in southern Kansas City, for instance, was designed with nature in mind. Every room has large windows that actually open for the fresh air — a rarity in medical facilities, said Elaine McIntosh, president and CEO. The rooms are also designed so that wheelchairs and even patient beds can enter a central courtyard.

The hospice house has an advantage in its nearness to the natural world, she said. It is located on 12 acres next to a green belt where deer, fox and other wildlife roam.

A lot of thinking went into how the area was landscaped, McIntosh said. Plantings are mostly low-maintenance of various textures and colors that attract birds and butterflies. And the grass of choice was buffalo grass, a type that requires very little mowing. Caregivers wanted to keep the landscape pretty, not noisy, she said.

The Hospice House opened in 2006, but the studies on the healing effects of nature weren’t the reason for the emphasis on nature. McIntosh said that nature is simply a part of the facility’s holistic approach to care.

‘Nature is a source of solace for everyone, regardless of what their belief systems are,” she said. “Our hope is that as soon as someone steps into the building they receive a message of peace and safety.’ ”