Visiting an Emergency Department (ED) can be an unsettling experience. However, that anxiety can be eased by improving the surroundings for patients and families. That’s the philosophy behind the “living wall” project near the ED at UPMC Shadyside.
When patients and families currently glance outside the ED windows, they see a collection of pipes, vents, and other mechanical equipment used to run the hospital’s cooling and heating systems. The industrial equipment will soon be hidden behind a 12-foot-high “living wall.” Ferns and hardy hostas, heuchera, and brunnera will fill some of the planters, while Creeping Jenny and dwarf evergreen shrubs will occupy others. Seasonal plants and flowers can be added for color and variety.
Construction of the living wall, which is funded by a generous donation from the Shadyside Hospital Foundation, should be completed in the spring. The wall will include a “fertigation” system to irrigate and fertilize the planter boxes. Lighting will be installed under the boxes so the plants can be seen at night.
“It really is exciting to see how we can use an architectural element to transform an industrial space into an area that will be soothing to the senses and help reduce stress and tension,” said Dennis Derringer, project manager.