1940-1990 Therapies are developed
There was no known cure for tuberculosis bacteria in the 1930s. The Central Häme Sanatorium’s annual reports dating from the 1930s and 1940s state that the most important elements of standard patient care were fresh air, sufficiently adequate and varied diet, as well as an appropriate alternation of rest and physical exercise. The three above-mentioned forms of patient care have also been called general care that aims at improving one’s condition. Efforts were made to maximally improve the patient’s general state of health in order to let his/her body become better equipped to fight against the disease and even defeat it in the best scenario.
When patients were admitted to hospital they were usually bedpatients. The goal was to increase patients’ weight, which was regularly monitored. For example, porridge was regarded as fortifying food. Besides regular weight monitoring patients’ body temperature was also measured at regular intervals.
An essential part of the treatment of tuberculosis was a method called hall therapy. Halls referred to long balconies, which formed an integral part of sanatorium architecture. Patients rested in the halls breathing fresh air. Patients always carried a sputum bottle, in which they coughed wherever they went. The sputum bottle had to be easy to spit in, equipped with a lid, and easily cleaned. The sanatoriums were generally built on pine groves, the air of which was considered particularly healthy to breathe. During the first year of the operation 53 patients were discharged from Pikonlinna, of whom 80 % were nearly or totally symptomless. However, every fourth discharged patient still had tuberculosis bacteria in their body.
The patients at recovery stage were offered work therapy. The purpose of the work therapy was to provide patients with more varied and strenuous bodily exercise than mere walks could offer. The aim of the work therapy was also to prepare patients for enduring the strains and stresses of everyday life, which were awaiting them once they were discharged from hospital.
The work therapy could be considered a form of rehabilitation for the tuberculosis patient. For example, in 1931 20 men and 21 women had participated in work therapy, a total of 41 patients. Men were involved with forest clearing, road building, wood chopping, weaving straw mats, and carpentry, whereas women pursued bookbinding, stitching – and other sewing activities. About 1,5-2 hours per day were dedicated to work therapy.
The sanatorium also had a garden, where patients worked. In 1952 the sanatorium’ garden yielded a variety of produce, including sugar peas, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, beans, potatoes, spinach, carrots, beetroot, rhubarb, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, apples, gooseberries and black currents.