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Part I. Creating a Healing Environment
"At Saint Thomas, we believe in total healing – body, mind and spirit.” says Jerry Kearney, Vice President for Mission of Nashville’s largest hospital. That philosophy of patient care provided the opportunity in 2010 to introduce an innovative art program that directly supports the goal of healing the whole person.
Working with Healing Petals Photography based in Los Angeles, California, the hospital installed nearly 300 original color photographs of flowers in full bloom – one in every patient room. Healing Petals further developed collateral materials to inspire meditation, reflection and prayer by patients, their families and loved ones. Elizabeth Thoman, photographer and founder of Healing Petals, explains: “For many people, physical sickness is accompanied by spiritual yearnings. And serious illness can be a transformative life experience. Patients often confront their own limitations, readjust life priorities and reach out for spiritual nourishment.
“Yet in a hospital, it may be hard to pray or read because pain or medications make it difficult to focus for even a few minutes. Just when you need prayer the most, it can elude you. We need alternative paths to prayer when we are very ill."
As a result of her own desert experience when undergoing cancer treatment in 2005, Thoman has developed a style of photography that “draws you into the very heart of the flower,” says Kearney. “Each one touches the soul. I recognized immediately that these photographs would fit nicely into our philosophy of patient-centered care."
Saint Thomas Case Study
- I. Creating a Healing Environment
More than 'Pretty Pictures'
A Case Study of the Healing Petals Installation
at Saint Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tennessee
In 2010, Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, commissioned a collection of Healing Petals: Images for Prayer & Reflectionto be installed in each of nearly 300 patient rooms. The goal was to recognize the spiritual dimension in the healing process and to inspire hope and healing through photographs of one of the Creator's greatest gifts -- flowers in full bloom. It is the first hospital in the nation to incorporate the innovative Healing Petals program into its patient care protocol.
This case study documents how the project was conceptualized, organized, managed and accomplished over a period of six months.
Healing Petals founder Elizabeth Thoman, CHM, puts a final polish on the first of her 300 Healing Petals photographs she installed in Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.