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Perceiving sustainability & practicing community based rehabilitation: A Critical Examination of the Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC) as a case study

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It is no coincidence that virtually every description of sustainable healthcare facilities marries the words healing and environment. Long before researchers presented evidence that the physical environment could play a palliative role in the healing process, sustainable healthcare leaders intuitively understood the importance of providing a safe and comfortable environment for patients, visitors and staff. The health-care industry, which is highly regulated, has been slower than other sectors of the building industry to integrate sustainability into the development of its facilities. According to the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council, less than 1 percent of LEED-certified projects in the United States are health-care buildings. WCRC needs to recognise the goals they’ve set for their buildings and surrounding area have parallels to sustainable principles and practices. For example, scientific research has shown that communing with nature helps distract patients from the challenges of their treatment; enhances their sense of well-being; and alleviates stress for family members, friends and caregivers.

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