As lighting technology progresses we are seeing vast leaps in research hinting at how light can aid recovery times and perhaps in some cases be the difference between recovery or actually getting worse.
It has been indicated that those in a hospital room with natural light and access to the light recover better than those with no natural light. It has also been shown that mimicking natural light with colour tuneable LED can assist where no natural light is available.
Those under stress can be helped with calming colours and mood and healing can be affected with the right ambiance from artificial sources. The harsh stark white light of the past in those long hospital corridors is slowly being replaced with something that perhaps ‘feels’ better to those walking them. The rooms have scene setting and with that the flexibility to create the lighting that works best for the patient whilst not compromising on colour rendering when staff need to see the pallor of their charges.
How far do we take this? Should each patient have their own control? Should surgeons have bluer light in their operating theatres to keep them awake on long surgeries? Will coloured light make children feel more at home and less anxious when away from their parents and feeling poorly?
Lighting is now recognized as one of the factors that can be designed into a Healthcare environment to relax patients. I recall doing many installations of hospital type A and B luminaries in the 80’s but things have moved on so much since then. I recently experienced this myself in a simulation of how the “ambient experience” can be varied to a choice of several themes at the touch of a button. See below a picture of a typical installation in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Even in this clinical environment, there are many fundamental lighting tactics being used. For example, the lighting above the bed can be varied as a part of the selected theme but is also designed to create a uniformly lit surface for the physicians. They also minimise reflections on the monitor screens.
What do you think? Have you experience of good or bad lighting at a hospital or healthcare centre? What would you like to see more or less of? Do you think light can help in the healing process?
Other examples of what could be consider innovative lighting in hospitals