If you have a friend in the hospital, you grab some flowers and head out for a visit, right? Not so fast. Some hospitals are discouraging – and sometimes banning - bedside bouquets! As you can imagine, florists are up in arms about this policy. It turns out that some physicians are upset by it as well. Here are the details from EScienceNews.com.
Let’s start with the anti-flower side: According to a study published in The British Journal of Surgery, the water in flower vases contains high levels of bacteria that could cause infections in both patients and visitors. Also, some hospitals fear that spilled water could ruin sensitive medical equipment and interfere with a patient’s care. According to The Journal of Research in Nursing, most nurses say that caring for flowers takes time away from patients.
On the pro-flower side, Giskin Day, who teaches Medical Humanities at Imperial College London, says that flowers reduce the need for patient care. She says flowers have been shown to speed up healing and reduce the need for painkillers in surgery patients. Medical anthropologist Simon Cohn agrees that flowers are good for what ails you. He says modern medicine has gotten so hi-tech that caregivers forget how a patient’s mood affects their recovery. Flowers - and the visitors who bring them - lower anxiety, reduce blood pressure, and increase feelings of optimism. All of these also speed up the healing process. So, what’s this mean to you?
- To be on the safe side: Call the hospital to find out their policy before you hit the florist.
- If you get the go ahead: Choose an arrangement that’s in floral foam, rather than in a glass vase that contains water.
- Since pollen can cause allergic reactions, ask for flowers that don’t shed - like roses, chrysanthemums and hydrangeas.
- Stay away from anything that’s heavily scented. Odds are that not everyone will appreciate the strong smell.