Hospitals are one of the most important necessities of modern day life. When it comes to hospital lighting, the relationship between patient wellness and the lighting elements has been long studied. Let’s take a closer look at how hospital lighting has been linked to patient wellness.
Lighting has long played a role in the sleep of humans in general. When looking at how hospital lighting has been linked to patient wellness in terms of sleep, there is a lot of evidence that suggests that exposure to light, whether natural or artificial light that simulates natural light, can greatly impact a person’s circadian system which regulates sleep and waking. When patients aren’t exposed to the recommended daily light exposure of at least 1500 lux for at least 15 minutes a day, it can play a role in sleeplessness. This is the minimum of light exposure needed to help regulate the natural sleeping process. The best bet is to choose lighting that is more on the bluish white index to properly mimic natural light for this effect.
Proper illumination is necessary for hospitals for obvious reasons. While studies related to medical errors in the operating room or nurse’s area is slim, there have been a lot of studies performed on prescription filling errors directly related to lighting levels. According to Health Design, “Medication-dispensing error rates were significantly lower (2.6%) at an illumination level of 1,500 lux (highest level), compared to an error rate of 3.8% at 450 lux.” There is no denying that proper visibility when performing important tasks related to patient care is a key to patient wellness in a number of ways.
Light has been proven to play a role in patient wellness in terms of mental health. The use of bright lights has been linked to reduced rates of depression, agitation among dementia patients, and those suffering from seasonal affective disorder. In fact, studies have found that being exposed to bright lights, even artificial lights mimicking daylight, ranging between 2,500 lux and 10,000 lux can even shorten the length of the hospital stay of patients with these mental health disorders.
Length of Stay
While patients with mental health conditions benefit from light in their treatment, patients without these conditions can still benefit from light. According to Health Design, studies have been conducted which support this with findings that patients that stayed in sunny rooms left the hospital a full day sooner than the patients in poorly-lit rooms.
With a better understanding of how hospital lighting has been linked to patient wellness, you can plan hospital lighting that aids in creating these same effects. Lighting is important in all locations, but it is especially paramount in hospital settings.