Comparing the effects of a subpar hospital room view to something more aesthetically pleasing is the essence of a study between Covenant Health, Texas Tech Design and Sky Factory.
Patty Freier is the principle investigator on Covenant's end of the study.
"When there are things that don't require a doctor's order, that don't require a preauthorization from any insurance agency, in these days we need to consider all those different options to decrease the patients anxiety and really help them heal," Freier said.
Freier joins researchers at Texas Tech's Department of Design to determine how a calming environment may affect a patient's outcome.
"We do everything we can to take the bias out. And patients have a choice to participate. No one is forced to do it, but I think it's important to find the evidence to support your intuitive feelings about things. And once you have that evidence you can move forward with designing new buildings with those involved," Freier said.
The idea itself came from a design perspective that is focused on nature.
"The challenge was how do you bring nature to the front of the patient. If they are sleeping, they have to turn to look outside the window. If there is artwork on the wall, they have to look up to see," said Associate Professor of Design Dr. Debajyoti Pati.
Dr. Pati's solution from above could be key in cutting patient stress.
"And stress is one of the reasons the patients may stay longer, they may take more medications, they may have more complications. So this is one of the ways we're hoping we will reduce the stress by taking their consciousness out of the room and to nature," he said.
The study includes 10 patient rooms, 5 with a sky ceiling and 5 without. Researchers will monitor patient surveys over the course of this year.
"They've got several pretty pictures. They're a prettier site to look at than our regular ceilings," said Covenant East 6 Charge Nurse Stephanie Hogan.
In the case of busy nurses, scientists on the study say even a peripheral view of the sky ceilings can make a neurological impact.