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Dominican Hospital Breaks Ground on Healing Courtyards Initiative


Project to transform Dominican Hospital courtyards and lounges into tranquil, green spaces to reduce stress and promote healing

SANTA CRUZ, CA (August 15, 2017) – The Dominican Hospital Foundation has officially broken ground on the Healing Courtyards Initiative. The project will create seven outdoor courtyards and indoor waiting areas across Dignity Health Dominican Hospital with lush greenery and private respite areas to reduce stress and promote healing for patients, their loved ones, and hospital staff. The spaces have some surprising clinical uses as well.

“Being in the hospital can be stressful, and stress can negatively affect recovery,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “Nature has the power to calm and uplift the spirit, which can help reduce mental and emotional fatigue and lead to better outcomes for our patients. We are thrilled to bring this additional aspect of patient care to our community.”

Numerous scientific studies have shown that interaction with nature reduces pain and stress and boosts the immune system. In fact, research conducted within hospital settings has shown that access to garden areas can speed healing from surgery and infections and reduce the need for pain medication, resulting in fewer post-surgical complications and shorter hospital stays. The Healing Courtyards Initiative will showcase native and drought-tolerant flora, fountains and other water features, and materials that reflect the unique topography of the Central Coast.

Some courtyards will also integrate therapeutic elements. The Monterey Peninsula Foundation Rehabilitation Garden will include a putting green for balance, outdoor games for manual dexterity and memory function, garden signage for language skills, and various pathways, pavement surfaces, and stair configurations for patients navigating with walkers, wheelchairs, and canes.

“Our Healing Courtyards Initiative Committee, chaired by Joe Burton and Keith McKenzie, MD, has been instrumental in the development process,” said Beverly Grova, Dominican Hospital Foundation vice president of philanthropy. “Through the critical support of community members, foundations, hospital employees, and physicians, we are able to make this vision a reality. We believe these unique spaces will greatly enhance the high quality of care our patients receive.”

The groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction for Phase I of the initiative, which includes:

  • The Norman and Maureen Benito Courtyard,
  • The Monterey Peninsula Foundation Rehabilitation Garden,
  • The Central Surgery Lounge,
  • Consult Room donated by Michael and Denine Butcher, and
  • The Isabel Wallace Bartfield Terrace.

Phase II construction is expected to begin in spring, and will include the Dr. Joseph T. Anzalone Family and Newborn Care Courtyard and the Meditation Garden in honor of Nello Santacroce.
To date, $4 million has been raised from the community for the project, which represents 90 percent of the goal. Naming and recognition opportunities for the Healing Courtyards Initiative are still available. Please contact Dominican Hospital Foundation Vice President of Philanthropy, Beverly Grova, at 831.462.7712 to learn more.

About Dominican Hospital

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for 75 years. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center. Dominican’s services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area. Dominican has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence.

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