Imagine walking on the beaches of Sanibel. The birds chirp and the waves ripple onto the sands as you take in the tranquil environment.
Now, imagine you're in a hospital room about to give birth.
Cape Coral Hospital is the first hospital in the area to use something called "bedscaping," where patients in a hospital bed experience soothing sights and sounds as a way to enhance the healing process, and they hope it becomes a success as it has in many hospitals nationwide.
Dr. Yosaif August, founder of Healing Environments International which created bedscapes, was at the hospital Wednesday to give a lecture on that and other topics.
Something as drab as a hospital curtain can be transformed into a trip on Sanibel, where the sights and sounds become part of the healing process.
This thanks to the work of Jenny Drew, a medical social worker at the hospital who is also an amateur photographer, and who took numerous pictures of Sanibel at its best; at the light tower, along the beach.
Drew said this program will enhance the healing process, especially for those are about to give birth or have other OB-GYN problems, where the bedscapes are.
"We are so in tune to taking care of our patients with medicine, but there's more to it than that," Drew said. "The whole purpose of these bedscapes is to have an image of something present to focus on when sick and that can be helpful to healing."
Drew was asked by the administration to take the photos for the project, of which there are three. Seven of each image was printed, each about three feet squared on "eco-fab," which is made from recycled water bottles, and they are combined with the soundscape of the ocean and birds chirping to add to the ambience.
"It's very calming, and the local aspect of it is helpful because people know where this is, and you can say 'When this is over, I'm going there myself' and it's something you can have as a goal," Drew said.
Bedscapes came into being 18 years ago after August met someone who did research that showed that patients who looked out at nature from their hospital room got better sooner, August said.
August said he was trained to choose images that would be safe and comforting to the patient to put them in a healing state of mind.
"The Lee Memorial Health System is implementing a program called 'Optimal Healing Environment' and this is the first time bedscapes are being used as part of a culture change," August said. "It's never been done with such an infrastructure of support and with local images."
And the medical proof that goes into bedscaping is overwhelmingly in its favor, August said.
"Johns Hopkins studied 120 patients with bone-marrow biopsies, and compared bedscapes with the cubical curtain," August said. "Those with bedscapes were four times less likely to have moderate or severe pain than with the standard curtain."
August said Johns Hopkins also did studies using cityscapes, which held no benefit.
August said Cape Coral Hospital was the perfect place for the bedscaping program to take shape.
"There are so many things going on here that are about making it a healing environment," August said. "It's exciting for me to see this happen."