Healing Hospital: A Daring Paradigm

As health care providers, it is natural to want to heal the patients completely. Today, many people are wanting and needing more from their health care system. The healing hospital paradigm incorporates the process of physical healing, as well as the mind and spiritual healing (Erie Chapman Foundation, 2009). Spirituality is the foundation of the meaning of life. For some, the foundation is built on religion and for others it may include things like music, art, family or the community (Erie Chapman Foundation, 2009). This paper will identify the concepts of a healing hospital, technological advances, and the physical design of the hospital, along with the culture in which promotes a holistic approach to total patient care.

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When planning to create a healing environment in a hospital setting, the most important thing to remember is the patient. Healing environments give the patients a sense of comfort, and a sense of safety. This type of environment helps the patient and family cope with the stressors of injury and illness. The components of a healing environment include three important elements. The first is a healing physical environment, which encompasses not only how to care for the patient, but to care for their families, caregivers and also the members of staff (Eberst, 2008). A healing environment should focus on reducing noise levels as well as fewer night time interruptions of sleep, this is known to promote rest and healing. Providing a room with a focus on lighting, music, color and architectural design, can also promote healing (Ananth, Kreisberg, & Jonas, 2011). Working in a quieter environment helps staff enjoy an overall less stressed area to do their work, which results in fewer errors. The next component of importance is that of an integrating work design with new technology. This focus is on patient privacy, a more efficient work environment for staff, and advanced technology in the hospital to support the healing process.

The last component is essential to creating a Healing Hospital. Incorporating the “Radical Loving Care” philosophy to all that staff the hospital, from housekeeping to the physicians. This philosophy was developed by Erie Chapman, a well-known healthcare industry leader. The philosophy encourages a culturally compassionate, delivery of care to patients and their families. This type of care promotes healing a patient using a holistic approach, meeting the physical needs of the patient as well as their emotional and spiritual needs (Eberst, 2008). A great example of a healing hospital is Mercy Gilbert Hospital, built in 2006, located in beautiful Arizona. This facility operates under the 2008 CEO of the year, Laurie Eberst. (Erie Chapman Foundation, 2009). During the building of this hospital, Ms .Eberst focused not only on the structure of the facility but also the staff and culture of caring that they deliver to their patients and family members.

One program that stands out is the “No One Dies Alone” program. Volunteers for this program are specially trained to be with the dying patient when loved ones are not able to be present. Also, the fact that the code team stays with the patient who has passed in order to honor the life of that patient (Erie Chapman Foundation, 2009). These are all standards of care at Mercy Gilbert, and what helps this hospital stand out from the rest.

The challenges to creating a healing hospital include many of the same challenges of building any healthcare system. Some of these issues include the process of getting the entire healthcare team involved and participating in a new model of delivering care to the patients. The budget for the education, training the entire staff and providing the newest technology for the hospital. Nurses and physicians experience high burnout rates from the physical and mental challenges of their careers. Stresses of the occupation can bring about physical illness, including musculoskeletal, as well as mental issues such as depression (Ananth, Kreisberg, & Jonas, 2011). Nurses and physicians need to heal their own mind, body and soul in order to care for others using a compassionate and loving culture of care. Another challenge is being able to engage the whole community, making new partners for a better living environment. The foundation of health and better living starts with the people of the community being more proactive in their health (Neigher & Hakim, 2011).

In the King James Version of the Bible, one verse that relates to a healing hospital is Galatians 3:28, it states that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. (King James online, n.d.). This verse represents the healthcare community in all that they do. They should, in a healing environment, as well as in their communities, treat everyone equally. It does not matter where a person comes from, how much money they have, what type of insurance one holds, or how much they contribute to society, everyone should be treated equally and wholly. In a radical loving and caring culture, the belief is that we are not human beings having an occasional spiritual experience, but that we are spiritual beings having a temporary human experience (“Spirituality,” n.d., p. 1) Each and every encounter we experience as humans, with another, is a blessed encounter.

In conclusion, a healing hospital environment provides comfort and compassion to patients and their families during difficult, stressful times in their lives. A positive environment promotes total body healing. Change is something that is constant for growth. It takes only a few committed individuals to start the change in any organization (Neigher & Hakim, 2011).


Ananth, S., Kreisberg, J., & Jonas, W. (2011). Exploring the science of healing. Retrieved from Eberst, L. (2008, March/April). Arizona medical center shows how to be a ’Healing Hospital’. Health Progress, 89, 77-79. Retrieved from Erie Chapman Foundation. (2009, April 12). Days 102-104- top ten healing hospital list & CEO of the year. Radical Loving Care- The Journal of Sacred. Retrieved from Neigher, W. D., & Hakim, S. M. (2011, June 17). Creating a Sustainable “healing culture” throughout a healthcare system: using community psychology principles as a guide. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 2(3), 1-25. Retrieved from Seeking Spirituality. (n.d.). Retrieved from The official King James Bible online. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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