Choosing the right lighting for patient comfort
Lighting is integral to a successful interior design, used to highlight architectural features and create specific moods for a space.
As lighting technology and energy-efficient choices continue to evolve, architects and designers have more choices than ever about making lighting decisions that enhance the patient experience, save energy, and improve work processes.
The evolution of lighting is particularly noteworthy for the healthcare industry, which continues to take design cues from the residential and hospitality industries.
When designing the lighting, consider how your choices enhance these three areas:
From the public entry to family lounges, retails spaces, worship spaces and patient rooms, a variety of lighting—including natural light—can create inviting interiors. At a recently completed hospital outside St. Louis, for instance, we created a public lobby infused with natural light. We also designed a meditative chapel in which cove lighting and illuminated vitrines for the stations-of-the-cross enhance the space’s spiritual quality.
Patient experience The movement toward private patient rooms allows designers to introduce more soothing features without sacrificing practical care. Walls sconces, task lighting, and directional lighting highlighting artwork add customized touches to a room, while individual reading lamps offer patients and visitors better lighting options that avoid eye strain. At nurses’ stations, pendants are often used as a decorative or wayfinding feature while ceiling and under-counter lighting provides functional illumination.
Green movement The increased focused on the environment has raised the importance of energy efficiency in healthcare facilities. Lighting can consume a high percentage of a hospital’s energy. Such recent developments as “intelligent lighting” contain timers or built-in controls that can reduce a room’s energy consumption during low-occupancy phases, while LEDs (light emitting diodes) are growing in popularity because of long life cycles and high-lumen output.
Ultimately, selecting the most appropriate lighting for your healthcare facility will not only improve the bottom line, but also—and perhaps most important—create an enhanced patient experience.