Athens Provides a Healing Environment

On Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 05:54

In a hospital, the small touches can make a big difference. The thought that has gone into recent innovations at the Athens Regional Medical Center are proof that the hospital is focusing on the total well-being of each patient and family it serves. For example, recent renovations to the emergency department include soft recessed lighting instead of harsh overhead lights. But nowhere is the hospital’s holistic approach to health care more evident than in the labor and delivery department. Hardwood floors and flat screen televisions make the rooms feel more like home than hospital. Even the placement of the furniture is designed to feel cozy and comforting, allowing families sufficient space to gather. And throughout the whole unit, only natural light is used in order to create a calming environment and to help newborn infants develop their circadian rhythms. One look at the ARMC’s cancer center newsletter tells you that this isn’t your standard hospital – it’s truly a place of healing and wholeness. The hospital offers workshops on such topics as healing writing, reiki, massage, everyday spirituality, guided imagery for health and wellness, yoga for caregivers, the ancient Chinese breathing and movement practice of Qi Gong and a program called “Fighting Cancer with Love and Laughter.” It’s no wonder that with a philosophy like this, the Athens Regional Medical Center has won the Hospital of the Year award given out by the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals. St. Mary’s Health Care System is another esteemed Athens hospital, and it was named the Large Hospital of the Year in 2006 and received a perfect Hospital Quality Index score of 100. It’s also one of the oldest in the area, in continuous operation since 1938. It is the site of the region’s first inpatient hospice house and is devoted to community outreach. The Athens Heart Center is also on hand for patients needing any aspect of cardiac care.