When creating plans for a hospital renovation, energy efficiency and patient comfort are likely at the top of the list of qualities you want the new design to improve. As you draw up floor- and wing-specific blueprints, focus on the light fixtures and placements for a fast and effective way to improve working and resting conditions.
You really don't want to install newer versions of the same light fixtures unless you previously redid the lighting to match current research. By rewiring the lighting in each environment in the hospital, you can increase comfort and reduce complaints.
No One Light Fits All Situations
Hospitals need to be efficient, both in energy use and in construction. A typical older hospital has a fairly consistent lighting scheme — usually overhead parabolic fluorescent lights — with only a few variations, such as the mobile overhead lights in a surgical theater.
However, no one light type is going to be appropriate for so many different working environments. The light that is best for a waiting room may not be the best for an office, and it likely wouldn't be the best for a patient room.
The plans for the renovated hospital must take the needs of those in each environment into account. Offices need light that will keep workers awake and help them be productive; patient rooms need light that will not mess with melatonin levels just before the patients are about to sleep.
Natural daylight is one of the best choices for any environment except those in which people are trying to sleep, but you can't always rely on natural light. Night crews won't have it, of course, and cloudy days aren't going to be a big help, either. The hospital may also be located in a crowded urban area where other buildings block the flow of light.
You should rely on a well-designed lighting system to provide light to the employees and patients of your hospital.
Blue Light From LEDs Are Both Good and Bad
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the energy-efficiency darling of the world now, and for good reason. They save energy and last a long time. But they can also affect how people feel and how well someone can sleep.
LED bulbs tend to emit more light in the blue-light wavelengths, and blue light is what tends to wake people up. Blue light been implicated in disrupting sleep cycles and possibly affecting health overall. For people who need to be up and productive, blue light can be useful, but it's not something you want to have on all the time.
In a hospital, this means configuring patient rooms, where patients need to sleep, so that blue light can be eliminated. One option is to have two sets of lights — for example, have the basic overhead light with fluorescent or LED bulbs for general use, and then wire an outlet by the bed for a light that uses an energy-efficient incandescent bulb or a special bulb with reduced blue-light waves.
Doctors and nurses entering the room at night can switch on the special light so that patients don't get a sudden infusion of blue light that could wake them up.
Different Light Fixtures Help Productivity, Health, and Sleep
Light fixtures outside of patient rooms should be moved and rewired too. Remove those parabolic fluorescents and install lensed indirect fixtures; these have been shown to be more comfortable for workers to use because the light isn't forced down onto objects and people in the room. It's forced upward and then reflected down, resulting in a less harsh light.
Hallway lights also need to be repositioned or moved away from patient-room doors. Sleeping rooms, those rooms in which patients stay overnight, usually have small windows in the doors. The light from the hallway can affect how well patients sleep. Direct the bulbs away from doors and place fixtures so that the bulbs can't be seen through those windows to reduce patient sleep issues.
When it's time to start the rewiring, contact Circle Electric, Inc. State-of-the-art technology can help your hospital and its occupants be at their healthiest.