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How Lighting Affects Healthcare Workers and Patients

Lighting is essential in every building. But, it is especially crucial in healthcare facilities.

Below, we will discuss how lighting affects healthcare workers and patients, how LEDs can help improve lighting at healthcare facilities, and what healthcare facilities should look for from a lighting provider.

How Lighting Affects Healthcare Workers & Patients

Surgical Outcomes

On an operating table, every detail matters, and even slight adjustments in lighting can be the difference between life and death. So, in addition to their years of training and cutting-edge tools, healthcare professionals must have optimal lighting to provide patients with the care they need.

Circadian Rhythm

Lighting can affect the initial outcome of a procedure, but it can also impact a patient’s ability to heal. Findings from studies on circadian rhythm have proven how heavily this rhythm is affected by light.

Through these studies, we now understand that the human body operates on a clock, or circadian rhythm, that dictates when we fall asleep and wake up. This clock must be working well for the body to heal properly. To keep the clock functioning, we need access to good artificial or natural lighting during the day. Daylight helps with alertness and productivity. At night we optimally require light that imitates the color and brightness of the sun setting. This kind of lighting helps us reach deep sleep, which is essential for repairing the body. During sleep, our body also makes the chemicals that regulate our heart rhythms, affect our weight, and control our moods.

These studies also showed that circadian rhythms are even more critical for patients with memory loss. For example, a natural circadian rhythm significantly reduced night wandering for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. It also proved to slow the advance of dementia for patients in the study.

How LEDs Can Help

Today, LED lighting is being adopted rapidly by nearly every industry, and healthcare is no different.

In addition to saving energy and reducing electricity bills, LEDs generate less heat than a standard bulb. This makes it easier to control temperatures in an operating room. Additionally, LED lights are generally smaller than the fluorescent and halogen alternatives, making them perfect for medical facilities where space is precious.

When Working With a Lighting Provider, Make Sure They Ask These Questions

With the stakes being so high, lighting for healthcare facilities must be exact. Each room in a hospital may need a different lighting design based on what’s inside. Below are some questions you should ensure your lighting provider asks when designing the lighting for your healthcare facility:

  • Does the room contain a CT or MRI?
  • Are surgeries or optical exams being done in this room?
  • Will the beds move?
  • Will children or patients with Alzheimer’s feel comfortable staying here?
  • Will someone with special needs use this room?

Additional Considerations

Operating rooms can be particularly complicated to illuminate as they house various surgical and monitoring equipment. This equipment is often incompatible with standard lighting. As a result, issues with frequency interference can arise. Additionally, security systems that protect infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) can also cause frequency challenges that trigger the alarms to malfunction. Ensure your lighting provider considers these possibilities and makes the lighting suitable for these spaces.

Working with an experienced lighting partner will ensure all of the above are taken care of, which will help protect healthcare workers and patients and offer you peace of mind.

Ready to get optimal lighting for your healthcare facility? Speak to one of the Healthcare Lighting Experts on the GCE National Team Today.

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