The hospital that offers SHELTERS in the WOODS to patients

A place where patients can enjoy nature and their loved ones, away from the hospital. An idea for the rest of the world?

Credit: @ivarkvaal

Hospitals in every corner of the world look alike: white beds, tasteless food, the smell of disinfectant all the time, LED lights and windows that almost always overlook the parking lot of the structure.

The days repeat themselves, everything seems the same and the only thing you want is a breath of fresh air that doesn’t taste like illness. We need a break, but how?

In Norway they found the answer: shelters for patients are born in the tranquility of the woods.

The hospital that offers SHELTERS in the WOODS to patients

# A break from the hospital


It is called Outdoor Care Retreat and is the project initiated by the Friluftssykehuset Foundation, and developed in collaboration with the Department of Psychosomatics and CL-Child Psychiatry at Oslo University Hospital and Snøhetta.

This project aims to help and accompany the sick, often forced to stay in hospital for a long time, but also their relatives.

The initiative takes the form of two shelters in the woods, rooms reserved for patients and their families to take a breath of fresh air and get away from the hospital.

The cabins are donated to hospitals by the Friluftssykehuset Foundation, but the project is supported by private and public funding, including Sparebankstiftelsen DNB, Gjensidigstiftelsen, Bergesenstiftelsen, the OUH Children’s Foundation and the Norwegian Parliament.

Several suppliers have also donated the materials for the construction of this project.

# The shelters


The design of the shelters bears the name of Snøhetta, a very famous Norwegian architectural firm.

The Norwegian studio has so far designed two small houses: one in the trees and next to a stream located just 100 m from the entrance to Oslo University Hospital, while the other overlooking a pond, near the Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand in the south of Norway.

The shelters have an area of ​​35sqm and contain a small room and a bathroom.

The entire design is clear and made of wood and the large windows are another way to represent even more the connection with the outside which is now unattainable for the sick.

The rooms are suitable for all ages, even for children who will have fun finding some animals and making piles with colored pillows.

These shelters are supported by public and private bodies, a symbol of attention to care, in the broadest sense of the word, for the sick but also for the family.

# The happy islands

Credit: @friluftssykehuset

The goal of this project is to create happy islands that allow you to get away, physically and mentally, for a few hours from the hospital.

As child psychologist Maren Østvold Lindheim of Oslo University Hospital argues, “the Outdoor Care Retreat helps motivate patients to get through treatment, and helps improve disease management.”

Being immersed in nature for a few hours can be a great gift for patients. These shelters give you the opportunity to stay in contact with nature but also with loved ones, away from LED lights and the smell of disinfectant.

A break that allows you to create new memories not related to the hospital, putting aside, even if for a short time, your illness.

# An idea for other countries?

Patients can reach these buildings on foot or even with their own beds, access to the shelters is in fact designed in such a way as to allow entry even to completely bedridden patients.

The first refuge was opened in 2019 when Covid was not yet there, yet it already seemed like an idea from which to take inspiration.

But now, with the dramatic health situation we are experiencing, how important could it be to take this breath of fresh air?

Nature can be the cure, if not for disease, at least for the mind.

Could it be an idea for other countries in the world?