Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cape Coral Hospital officially opens 'Pathway to Discovery'

Kudos to LMHS and its Cape Coral Hospital and all its community partners for creating this 1.75 mile pathway on the campus of the CC Hospital that includes stations for healthy living and recreation. It was inspiring for BWL to be part of this morning's ribbon-cutting event. This is a great asset not only for the hospital but for the Cape Coral community. A special thanks to Scott Kashman, CAO of CC Hospital, who had the vision for this project and brought together many community partners to make it a reality. 
Cape, November 6, 2015, Submitted by Jeff Koehn 
Photo courtesy of Lee Memorial Health System
When a dream becomes a reality, it is nothing short of a special moment.
Such a special moment took place this past Wednesday morning at Cape Coral Hospital when the official ribbon cutting took place for the hospital’s “Pathway to Discovery”.
Health system leaders, city leaders, and others gathered along the path to usher in, what Lee Memorial Health System is calling an example of the significant shift its hospitals and other health care facilities are making in the way it cares for not only its patients but the community as a whole.
The shift is part of an initiative called creating an optimal healing environment.
Pathway to Discovery (Photo by Letourneau)
Optimal Healing Environment is a concept created by the Samueli Institute with the focus of shifting healthcare solely from disease treatment approach to a healthy creation approach.
It was just a few years ago that Cape Coral Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Scott Kashman and the hospital directors decided to use the Optimal Healing Environment initiative as the framework to create a different atmosphere at the hospital, “We wanted to create an environment for people to flourish. Not just think of our campus as a hospital, but a place where you can prevent becoming sick,” explains Kashman.
Scott Kashman (Letourneau photo)

Kashman says part of that process was utilizing the hospital’s entire 43-acre campus. To fully utilize the hospital’s expansive property, the idea of the “Pathway to Discovery” was created to completely interconnect the campus through sidewalks and walkways. The Pathway would feature such things as gardens, exercise stations, benches, bodies of water, and more to create a healthier atmosphere both physically and mentally, “At that time, when you looked at the campus, it just looked like a big parking lot. We wanted to change that.”
It was a novel idea, but one Kashman and others at the hospital thought would take years to bring to fruition. However, once the hospital began presenting their image to the community, it began to take a life of its own, “When we started it sounded like a great vision, but a grand vision. When we reached out to the community, the response was overwhelming. It quickly became a true community project.”
Kashman says much of the credit in getting the community involved falls belongs to Lee Memorial Health System Health & Wellness Strategic Business Partner Christin Collins.
Collins worked tirelessly presenting the vision to local business and community leaders, and soon those presentations paid off. To date the community has provided over $200,000 in donations toward building the pathway, “What has been amazing is to see how many people, as the project progressed, really wanting to be part of this and become involved. The community involvement was sincerely the key piece that made this a reality,” says Kashman.
With funding available, the hospital set forth building their vision. First, there was a Healing Garden, located near the entrance of the Women and Children’s Center entrance. Then came the Teaching Garden next to the Wellness Center that provided an opportunity for the neighboring Caloosa Elementary and Middle School children to plant and grow food that could eat and share with their families. At the same time, the pathway itself was being constructed as well as the addition of exercise stations and other features like canopy trees to create a more aesthetically pleasing environment when one walks the pathway.
Photo by Letourneau
By the time the first phase of the pathway was complete it had included nearly a half mile walkway as well as connecting with the 1.3-mile sidewalk loop that travels along the perimeter of the hospital’s campus.
For those who attended the ribbon cutting Wednesday morning, what they saw was nothing short of astonishing, “This (Pathway to Discovery) is a wonderful way to integrate a healthy lifestyle into our community. What has been done here is amazing. We have the unique opportunity to be considered a trendsetter in establishing an optimal healing environment. This is just another example of people all around the country looking at Cape Coral as an example of making a positive impact,” said Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki.
Photo by Letourneau

"The pathway is built upon people caring about people, sharing a vision, helping build that vision. It is more than a pathway. It is the beginning of another step in our journey as a community. As a region. As a state and as a nation that we can make a difference in our lives by helping and support each other. Having a vision for not just repair center medicine, but living healthier lifestyles and having an optimal healing environment,” Lee Memorial Health System Chief Executive Officer Jim Nathan told those in attendance at the ribbon cutting
The work done through the pathway in creating an Optimal Healing Environment was such an accomplishment, that Dr. Wayne Jonas, President and CEO of the Samueli Institute, the organization that created the initiative was in attendance at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting and had rave reviews for what he saw, “This is one of the most remarkable examples of a community effort and community gathering that I have seen in any of the places I have been who are trying to achieve optimal healing environments,” Jonas told those in attendance. “Normally they go inside the hospital. This is much, much bigger than that and it is tremendous.”
With such an overwhelming response, Kashman says that plans are already in place to continue to expand the pathway in the near and distant future, including partnering with the City’s Parks & Recreation Department to add more enhancements, “We are going to add other pathway areas around the campus. The ultimate goal is that everywhere you walk around the campus it will somehow connect. Now the first phase is done, and it gives people a better look at what we are trying to accomplish. This gives us a canvas to show others as we move forward with the next phases.”
Pathway to Discovery Team (photo by Letourneau)
While the hospital continues to plan for the future regarding its grand scheme for an Optimal Healing Environment, Wednesday provided Kashman at least a moment to reflect on where the project has come since its humble beginnings of being just an idea, “This has exceeded the expectation. What you see here is something we always felt could happen. What has been amazing is to see how many people as the project progressed really wanted to be part of this and become involved. The community involvement was sincerely the key piece that made this a reality.”

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