Patients watching television in their rooms at Memorial Medical Center now can turn on a channel that features instrumental music and soothing nature scenes.
The CARE Channel was added to the hospital's TV lineup a few months ago, Memorial spokesman Michael Leathers said.
CARE, which stands for "Continuous Ambient Relaxation Environment," is provided through a 19-year-old company in Reno, Nev., called Healing Healthcare Systems.
A news release from Memorial said the channel is designed "to enhance and promote healing."
Susan Mazer, chief executive officer of Healing Healthcare Systems, said Wednesday the channel's videos of waterfalls, mountain ranges, wildlife and flowers are not repetitive and have original music playing in the background.
"It's kind of like walking in a garden," she said.
The channel's programming changes by the time of the day. It includes sunrise and sunset scenes during the day and starry skies at night, Mazer said.
More than 600 hospitals nationwide pay for the CARE Channel, which Mazer said has unique content designed to promote rest and sleep. Scenes on the channel focus on nature. They contain no people or "artifacts" of civilization such as telephone poles, fences or buildings, she said.
In downstate Illinois, the CARE Channel is offered at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, and Methodist Medical Center in Peoria. The channel is scheduled to be switched on in April at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln.
St. John's Hospital in Springfield doesn't offer the channel, but St. John's spokeswoman Erica Smith said the hospital does have "meditation" recordings on CDs and cassettes that patients can play in their rooms.
A sample of the CARE Channel is available at www.healinghealth.com.
Memorial officials didn't say how much the hospital pays for the 24-hour service, but Mazer said: "The cost is truly reasonable. It's pennies per bed per day."
Dean Olsen can be reached at 788-1543.