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Mid Coast Garden Event Raises Funds for Healing Environment

Glenn and Ellen Hutchinson, Mid Coast Hospital Auxiliary President. (Photo by Kara Aleixo Johnson)


The first "Mid Coast Hospital Healing Garden Party, Come Help us Grow!” was held on Saturday, June 21. Attended by 100 local residents, hospital administrators, and business leaders the event featured Maine-inspired refreshments and music by area musicians including members of Mid Coast Symphony Orchestra and Maine State Music Theatre. 

Hosted by Mid Coast Board Member Susan Gillies, the event raised funds to support the Mid Coast Hospital Healing Environment Project, a commitment that builds upon the hospital's natural setting while incorporating spaces and surroundings that join body and spirit, science and healing. 

Dean Paterson (left) and Cate Parker (right). (Photo by Jeff Morris, The Pierce Studio, Brunswick)
"It was wonderful to see so many community members gather to welcome summer and celebrate the healing spirit at Mid Coast Hospital,” said Kara Aleixo Johnson, Mid Coast Health Service’s Director of Development. "It is through such dedicated support that we are able to embrace our healing environment that nurtures the whole patient (body, mind, and spirit), reduces stress, and improves outcomes.”

In addition to the architecture that takes into account special lighting, sounds, and designs to reduce stress and promote a spiritual self-healing process, the facility takes full advantage of the 150-acre surrounding woodland. Windows are strategically incorporated to bring natural light and beauty into public spaces and patient rooms, all of which contain a view to the outside. Cornerstones of the Healing Environment Project include the Healing Garden, accessible walking trails, an extensive art collection, and a meditation room. 

Robert McCue, Mid Coast Health Services Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer and Barbara McCue, Mid Coast Hospital Director of Quality and Patient Safety. (Photo by Jeff Morris, The Pierce Studio, Brunswick)
One of Brunswick’s only public gardens, the Mid Coast Hospital Healing Garden contains carefully selected plantings, indigenous rocks, sculptures, and flowing water, providing a comforting verdant space for the pleasure of the Mid Coast community. A team of dedicated volunteers, led by Margie Sunderland, maintains the garden all through the year.

Since its creation—a gift of the Mid Coast Hospital Auxiliary—the garden area has expanded to include more than 3,300 feet of prepared walking paths through the forested wetlands area between the hospital and the protected estuary and salt water marshes of Thompson's Brook. Future plans include improved access to the nature trails, a children’s StoryWalk®, and privately named poetry benches placed throughout the garden and trails.

"Our healing environment is very special to us,” said Johnson. "These spaces have become cultural gems within our region that we are honored to share with our community, patients, staff, and visitors. We are grateful for the generous donors and gracious artists that support our mission.”  

Jill and Fred Haer. (Photo by Jeff Morris, The Pierce Studio, Brunswick)
As part of the environment of healing, the hospital boasts a robust art collection from locally and internationally known artists. Works of art on display include murals, paintings, and sculptures by Peter Cook, Andreas von Huene, Dahlov Ipcar, Nina Jerome, Janet Redfield, Mark Wethli, and William Zorach. All artwork has been graciously donated to the hospital as a tribute to this evidence-based, healing philosophy.

Building on the principles of the growing body of research in support of healing environments, Mid Coast Hospital continues to expand these efforts. Recently, the hospital teamed up with well-known musician Tim Janis to offer quiet, soothing music in patient rooms. The hospital also features an alternative healing hand massage program and is incorporating mindfulness philosophies into its community health and wellness programming.

Planning committee members Susan Gillies (left), Cyndy Bush (center), Margie Sunderland (right).(Photo by Jeff Morris, The Pierce Studio, Brunswick)
"The research is clear that we can improve outcomes by embracing and providing an environment of healing,” said Lois Skillings, President and CEO of Mid Coast Health Services. "With the goal of delivering the absolute best care possible, we will continue to make improvements that benefit our patients and the health of our community.”


 
 
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