Children's Garden at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center

The children’s garden is the heart of the hospital in an enclosed courtyard. The garden provides a 24/7 nature experience for patients, family members, staff, and the public. It was designed through a collaborative approach that brought together clinical, administrative, and facilities staff along with a landscape architect. The use of a collaborative design approach in a healthcare setting insures the garden is space for both clinical therapeutic activities and recreation. This approach has been used by Legacy to create one of the largest healing garden programs in the U.S.

On any given day you will see children who are patients enjoying time in the garden with their families, staff taking a break on a shaded bench, or a therapist doing an activity with a patient amid the foliage.

Located on the second floor of the hospital overlooking the Children’s Garden is Legacy’s newest garden, the Children’s Terrace, a space designed for the needs of the Family Birth Center and the cardiac ICU. The garden provides a place for mothers in early stages of labor to spend time with their families. Families with members in the cardiac unit also can spend time in the landscape while their loved ones receive critical care. The terrace is a place for staff to take breaks, eat a quick meal, or have a meeting with colleagues.

Legacy received a grant from the TKF Foundation to build the garden and conduct three research studies with famed scientist Roger Ulrich. The first study will look at women in delivery and their babies and what effect using the garden has on their health. Will they experience reduced stress? What will be the effect on their need for pain relief during delivery? All mothers and babies are monitored during their entire stay. Monitors keep tract of blood pressure, heart rate, and other vital signs. The monitor tracks where they are in the hospital. The second study looks at family members of patients in the cardiac intensive care center to see what effect waiting in the garden has on their hospital experience. The third study looks at staff to see how access to the garden affects their work day. None of these studies have ever been done before.  

Gretchen Vadnais Landscape Architecture created the original design of the children's garden. Quatrefoil designed the activity pavilion and the Children's Terrace.

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