Graeme G Booth
The Green Hospital movement incorporating Alternative Medicines Therapies and Social Change.
19 Jan 2012
The Green Hospital: from centres of sickness to centres of wellness.
(Sources: In part - recycled from Planet Green)
Recycling: We all should recycle, but hospitals even more so that others! Hospitals with an environmental bent are recycling alcohol, batteries, light bulbs, old linens, computers, paper, cardboard, packing peanuts and more. They are also saving kitchen oil for bio-diesel processing.
Reusing Materials: Hospitals should make a concerted effort to reuse packing materials, wheelchairs and crutches, envelopes for internal communication, and medical equipment. I used crutches when I tore my ACL ? the hospital never asked for them back, or told me about a recycling opportunity. I'd gladly give them in, rather than keeping them in my closet, taking up space.
Reducing Waste: It isn't enough to recycle and reuse. After all, it is 2008, and the basics aren't good enough! Hospitals must also rethink the types of products they purchase. Green hospitals are using energy efficient light bulbs and reusable silverware. Some are even composting and using cloth nappies/diapers.
Cleaner Air: Going green also means better air quality. To that end, some hospitals are installing systems that provide better ventilation. They are also using cleaning materials with fewer hazardous materials and paints with fewer VOCs. And to reduce pollution outdoors, some offer electric car charging stations.
Expanded concept, further criteria for the creation of the truly "Green Hospital"
Energy autonomous buildings.
Economising of water use, including the collection and reuse of rain and snow.
Ecologically sustainable materials.
Ecological and locally produced food.
Renewable and energy efficient hospital operation.
Incorporating natural, - light design, material use in furnishing and décor.
The greening of interiors (indoor-planting) and landscaping (with high indoor visibility) around the hospital.
Further Criteria: Another area in the hospitals transition to that of becoming in my mind truly green, must be the adoption and incorporation of alternative diagnosis, therapies and medicine into standard hospital practice. To be truly green requires a shift from treatments that are chiefly pharmaceutically based, destructive to the environment, with benefits that are short-term, focused on symptom suppression, to that of whole-person diagnosis and treatments, strengthening and aiding the individuals own capacity for healing. Placing a larger emphasis on and parallel to the treatment of 'sickness' should be prevention-consultation, with a focus on lifestyle, stress and the environmentally-related, negative side-effects that occur to the psychic/somatic functions of the individual.
With the introduction of alternative therapies into hospitals, structural changes would have to follow. One change that I deem advantageous and even necessary would be the introduction of the roll of diagnostic-guide for patients. His/her roll (a jack of all therapies) would be to assess through certain initial verbal-analysis and diagnosis, the patients situation and needs, be they in need of acute, chronic or prevention orientated treatments, -and guiding said patient to departments within the “traditional” or the many different alternative treatments!
Of course the introduction of whole-person preventive, health-development thinking into the present day pharmaceutical symptom-treatment and non-health orientated hospitals, would inevitably lead to their necessary transformation into wellness centres.
The green hospital that is seriously engaged in helping individual patients and catering fully to their possibility for recovery and future wellness, needs even to empower each and everyone of it's co-workers/ practitioners. The function and development of the green hospital must be determined by it's members/staff. Every hospital would develop from the unique combination and gestation of its practitioners/co-workers, community-interdependence and vision. This would call for a foundation of not-for-profit enterprise, an enterprise based on respect, the democratic workplace, individual engagement and responsibility. Cooperation, equality and the possibility for all to learn and grow would need to be a priority.
Close interaction and a supportive relationship with the local community would create new possibilities for both. The exploring of new funding and financing systems that would allow all citizens access to help irrespective of their financial situation. The right to help for all who seek a healthier and higher quality of life.
I envisage the new green hospitals as centres for healing and wellness. A part of that roll would be research, inform and educate the community on the multi-faceted area of life-quality from a whole-person perspective.
Graeme Booth 02 01 2012