Health and medical professionals strive, every day, to cure ailments and relieve patient symptoms. But success in these areas often depends on environmental elements within the medical practice. Improving medical practice lighting in both color and tone can ease patient anxiety and boost productivity and mood among medical personnel and patients.
How Light Impacts Human Health and Performance
Most medical practices, as well as other healthcare settings, are lit by a combination of natural lighting through windows and skylights, and electric-light sources. It is important to understand how these two types of light sources impact human health and performance. Here are four main mechanisms influenced by lighting:
1. Enables performance of visual tasks
The work environment for nurses and physicians in hospitals is stressful. They are required to perform a range of complex tasks — filling prescriptions, administering medication, and performing other critical patient-care tasks. Inadequate lighting and chaotic environment are likely to compound the burden of stress and lead to errors.
2. Controls the body’s circadian system
When light falls on the retina, it transmits to the hypothalamus controlling the body’s circadian rhythm. If the internal rhythms do not match the workday rhythms, healthcare workers or staff can feel drowsy, tired, and distracted. To help improve productivity and uplift moods in medical personnel and patients, increase the exposure to daylight — preferably through windows and natural lighting.
Exposure to daylight can assist in the following:
- Reduces depression among patients with seasonal affective disorder and bipolar depression
- Decreases length of stay in hospitals
- Improves sleep and circadian rhythms
- Lessens agitation among dementia patients, eases pain
- Improves adjustment to night-shift work among staff
3. Affects mood and perception
Different lighting conditions affect people’s moods and behaviors at work. However, mood changes do not remain the same across different people with the same lighting conditions. Rather, an individual’s discomfort, preferences, expectations, and gender impact how mood changes.
Overall, daylight is preferred to artificial lighting and proximity to windows is preferred for several reasons: psychological comfort, office appearance and environment, general health, visual health, work performance, and jobs requiring fine observation. Greater sunlight also improves overall satisfaction.
4. Facilitates direct absorption for critical chemical reactions within the body
Light radiation is absorbed directly by the body through the skin and stimulates chemical reactions in the blood and other tissues. As a result, it helps support vitamin D metabolism and prevents jaundice.
Set the Tone and Environment with Lighting
The lighting mechanics and color palette can set the tone for a healthcare facility, whether it’s the product of renovation, interior design or a new-build project.
Types of Lighting Sources
- Use energy-efficient natural light where good color rendering and bright, changing visual environments are desirable.
- Incorporate natural light into lighting design wherever possible in healthcare settings.
- Provide windows for access to natural daylight in patient rooms, along with provisions for controlling glare and temperature.
- Orient patient rooms to maximize early-morning sun exposure.
- Assess adequacy of lighting levels in staff work areas.
- Provide high lighting levels for complex visual tasks.
Schedule a Consultation
When it comes to medical practice lighting and other patient and productivity-focused design choices, we can help. With a strong history in helping medical professionals secure and set up their medical practices, Boulevard Medical Properties can help you, too. Contact us today.