Case · 10 August 2017

Using scent to reduce anxiety and promote well-being at a progressive University Hospital

Innovative hospital focuses on stress reduction

Reducing anxiety and promoting well-being with scent at University Hospital Brussels

When you’re in the hospital, you usually want to limit your stay as much as possible. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the place itself should be unpleasant. The management of Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (University Hospital) consider it important that both patients and visitors should feel as comfortable as possible during their time at the hospital. That’s why they asked ScentAir to offer their advice about the use of scent.


A typical hospital’s scent

Hospitals are generally characterized by their scent: a combination of detergents and medicine. Everyone recognizes the scent and visitors often associate this with emotional experiences. UZB thought it was time for change and asked ScentAir for help.


Their question to ScentAir

How can a positive scent experience lead to a reduction in anxiety and connect positive feelings to visiting the hospital?


Happy scents and fear reduction

Research shows that the physical environment can have a substantial effect in promoting rehabilitation and easing stress. A positive environment is a healing environment, and scent can play a very important part in this.

Together with the management, we chose a fresh welcoming effect around each entrance. This way, visitors are pleasantly surprised by an agreeable scent instead of a sterile whiff of detergent. Three ScentDirect systems were installed in different locations: the main entrance, the polyclinic, and the children’s entrance. For the latter, we chose a happy, sweet scent that is much appreciated by kids. All the scents were specifically chosen to distract people from any possible negative experiences. Naturally, all scents comply with the most stern health and safety requirements.

We chose ScentDirect systems as they are easily programmable and effortlessly distribute scent to large spaces.


Positive response from visitors and personnel

The result of the scent experience is very positive. Many visitors were surprised by the hospital’s fresh, happy scents. The medical personnel, too, were very happy with the new scents.


“In the nursery, parents and children were pleasantly surprised by the scent. It helps them to relax and not think about the reason why they’re in the hospital.”


Follow-up: a complete experience

Management responded very positively to the scent experiment. That’s why plans are currently being made to transform the entire children’s wing into an extraordinary environment featuring elements from a desert, an ocean and a rain forest. All this in order to create a positive experience for all visitors.