Lighting is important in hospital settings since visibility is key to patient health. When it comes to hospital nursery lighting, there is a fine balance between having the illumination that works best for both staff and the youngest of patients. Since a newborn is still developing their eyesight, this area of lighting needs to meet certain guidelines to ensure success.
The most important aspect for hospital nursery lighting is the lumen output. Studies have suggested that the use of overly bright lights in hospital nursery lighting can have a negative effect on babies. If a baby is born prematurely and exposed to bright artificial lighting, it increases the risk for retina related conditions. Even babies born at full gestation need light that is gentle enough for their developing eyes. When choosing lumen output, get out of the mentality that brighter is better. While you don’t want the brightest light on the market for this area of lighting, choosing an option that is too dim can be detrimental to the health of these young patients if it impedes staff visibility. A good guideline is to opt for somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 lumens with a max of 10,000 lumens.
Another factor to consider with this area of lighting is the circadian rhythm. Since babies are still adjusting to being out of the womb, it is important to help them adjust by supporting their natural circadian rhythm as much as possible. This means having lights which will mimic natural sources of light during the day and then gentler lights as the day progresses. To achieve this balance, you will need lights in cooler tones, almost bluish in hue, which can be achieved most effectively with LED. A LED is an ideal solution since the light beam is evenly distributed throughout the lens so it will be easier on the eyes of babies. There are many LED lights which can be adjusted throughout the day to reduce lumen output which will help to stimulate the circadian rhythm instinct.
When choosing lighting for the nursery, diffusers are a must-have option. Whether you choose a textured shield with built in diffuser screens or you install one after the fact, a diffuser will help to make illumination easier on the eyes.
The type of fixture should also be considered carefully. The most commonly seen fixture design in hospitals is the recessed 4x4 tube light model. This is still a great solution since they offer easy cleaning, easy installation, and eliminate shadows. The only drawback to this type of fixture is that it produces mostly down light. Since babies will spend much of their time on their backs looking up at the ceiling, too much down light can be an issue. While diffusers and proper lumen output can certainly reduce these aspects, another solution is to try a fixture that will offer a better mix of uplight and downlight. You can also incorporate different types of fixtures into the lighting plan with overhead for mimicking daylight and wall mounted sconces which give off a gentler light for evening hours.
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