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Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson

Medical and psychological measurements of surgical patients were tested to determine the influence of plants and flowers within hospital rooms. Eighty female patients recovering from a thyroidectomy were randomly assigned to either control or plant rooms. Patients in the plant room viewed 12 foliage and flowering plants during their postoperative recovery periods. Data collected for each patient included length of hospitalization, analgesics used for postoperative pain control, vital signs, ratings of pain intensity, pain distress, anxiety and fatigue, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y-1, the Environmental Assessment Scale, and the Patient's Room Satisfaction Questionnaire. Patients in hospital rooms with plants and flowers had significantly shorter hospitalizations, fewer intakes of analgesics, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction about their rooms when compared with patients in the control group. Findings of this research suggest the therapeutic value of plants in the hospital environment as an effective complementary medicine for surgical patients.