The Connection to Nature study is the first of six research studies being conducted as part of the Centre’s bold Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) project. Before and after the new West Park hospital is built, the ambitious study will evaluate how West Park green/outdoor space supports the wellbeing of staff, patients and their families, and how it may affect patient rehabilitation goals. Ultimately, it aims to answer the question “How does the West Park connection to nature affect the patient, family and staff experience, and contribute to improved health outcomes?”
Pre- and Post-Occupancy Research Activities
The pre-occupancy (pre-construction) phase of the Connection to Nature study is now closed. In determining how patients, family/friends and staff use and experience the natural environment in West Park outdoor spaces, user feedback was collected from approximately 500 West Park community members. Extensive data was gathered via surveys and one-on-one interviews, with questions centered on green space usage and satisfaction rates, and on outdoor rehabilitative therapy.
Additionally and as an adjunct benefit, the study has resulted in the development of a universal, proprietary research scale for use with outdoor therapy. The Patient Experience with Outdoor Rehabilitation Therapy scale — a unique tool developed to capture how nature acts as an enabler to improve the patient’s perception of their therapeutic experience in outdoor/green spaces — is being developed in collaboration with UK-based researcher Dr. Cláudia C. Andrade.
The post-occupancy (post-construction) phase of the Connection to Nature study is planned for 2024-2025. The new West Park hospital will be assessed to measure how its green/outdoor space supports the well-being of staff, patients and their families, and how it may affect patient rehabilitation goals.
Feedback on the West Park experience in the current hospital has now been collected. Feedback on the new hospital will be collected when the new facility is built (planned for 2024-2025). West Park patients, family/friends and staff are strongly encouraged to participate in the Connection to Nature or other POE feedback studies. To participate in future POE activities or to learn more, please contact POE@westpark.org.