Lighting affects all aspects of the human experience and if used effectively in the healthcare environment can enhance patients’ experience and play a key role in healing. As specialists in lighting for healthcare, we have extensive experience in delivering complex, high quality lighting solutions needed to support the myriad of tasks being performed in so many different areas, ranging from operating theatres to nursing stations, wards to public spaces.
All-Round Benefits of a Pleasant Ambiance
Light plays an important role in promoting the wellbeing of patients. Studies show that a well-designed lighting system can contribute to the reduction of medical errors, patient falls, pain, stress, depression and length of stay while improving satisfaction. A carefully designed ambiance in wards, corridors and around the hospital also results in better working conditions for staff, increasing efficiency and satisfaction.
Giving patients more control of their environment is also considered beneficial. As part of an expansion of the MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital in Washington, USA, we incorporated colour changing LED uplights into the paediatric patient rooms, allowing children to choose the colour of the light in their rooms. We also programed daylight level changes into the lighting control system to provide cues and help settle the young patients at night-time.
Access to daylight is also seen as a factor in reducing recovery time or the amount of medication that patients need. We undertake daylighting modelling to optimise the natural light, including sunlight, in patient rooms, waiting rooms, staff work rooms, and rest areas; and where there is inadequate daylight we compensate by providing lighting solutions that simulate natural lighting conditions over the course of the day, supporting the circadian rhythm.
High Performance Lighting for Critical Areas
In operating theatres specialised, high performance lighting is essential for the safe treatment of patients. True colour rendering is vital for doctors to determine the condition of their patients, as is the appropriate light intensity required for delicate, meticulous surgical procedures. Selection of fixtures to maintain the very strictest hygiene conditions is also a crucial consideration. Specialised schemes for other highly technical areas such as MRI suites, where ferrous materials cannot be used, include LED lighting in plastic casings with drivers and transformers located outside the room.
Lighting represents at least 10% of energy consumption in a healthcare facility and also increases cooling demands because of the heat it generates. The opportunities for energy and cost savings through energy-efficient lighting strategies are therefore considerable. We insist on cost-effective lighting systems that can be maintained over a long period of time. These include installing LEDs wherever appropriate and maximising use of the natural daylight, incorporating daylighting controls in rooms with large window areas.
We also incorporate intelligent control strategies to minimise energy consumption, such as occupancy sensors in areas that are frequently unoccupied. At Queen Silvia’s Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, our advanced lighting design for healthcare includes technologies that ensure lights are only on in occupied rooms.
Supporting Operational Priorities
When delivering any lighting scheme, whether for a new construction or for the retrofit of existing facilities, we work closely with healthcare operators, architects and engineering design teams to help create the perfect conditions for the needs of different user groups. By using light in the right way, we help our clients achieve their operational priorities – providing the best environment for patients, the best working conditions to attract and retain staff and, through improved energy efficiency, savings in operating costs allowing greater resources for patient treatment and care.