Most of Ireland’s main hospitals are banning visitors from bringing in flowers, citing concerns over hygiene, allergies, water spillages, vase breakages, a lack of space and creating extra work for nurses.
All of the State’s major hospital groups have confirmed they have clamped down on fresh bouquets being allowed on wards.
However, the prohibition has led to warnings that the policy may be slowing the recovery of patients.
Mary Forrest, associate professor in horticulture at UCD, said research has shown that patients who have an “attractive view” of flowers or plants spend less time in hospital and need less strong painkillers.
Fionnuala Fallon, a flower farmer and garden writer for The Irish Times, said shatter-proof and non-spill vases would get rid of any safety risks, while “a tiny bit of bleach in the water will essentially kill all bacteria for a long period of time”.
“There is nothing like a bunch of flowers for cheering people up,” she said.“The vast majority of people see a bunch of flowers as something that brings immediate joy and pleasure. It is sad to see it gone from hospitals.”