Medical Construction & Design

MAY-JUN 2017

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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22 Medical Construction & Design | M AY/ J U N E 2017 | MCDM AG.COM Whenever we interview hospi- tal staff on lighting design im- provements, their instinctive response is to brainstorm with us on the best possible design for their patients. This says a lot about their dedication and priorities. When choos- ing — for example — where to provide more natural light or views to the outside, nursing professionals will insist on upgrading patient spaces over their own every time. And while most agree this is the appropriate response, can we also agree that improv- ing lighting environments for both patients and staff will yield tremendous benefi ts all around? After all, a healthy, energized staff contributes im- measurably to patient satisfac- tion and recovery. Anyone who has experienced a hospital stay, whether directly or for a loved one, knows the care and empa- thy of the nurses and support staff make all the diff erence. Fortunately, the continuing evolution of lighting design and technology options off ers excit- ing opportunities to improve disposition, comfort and overall wellness for every person spending time inside a hospital. Meeting health, operational needs Natural light, and LED lighting designed to mirror the natural lighting cycle, improves alert- ness, reduces fatigue and helps maintain the body's immune system. Yet most hospital interiors — especially staff areas such as nursing stations, corridors and break rooms — are lit 24 hours a day with traditional fl uores- cent and incandescent bulbs. This type of artifi cial lighting disrupts the natural circadian cycle. Compounding the prob- lem: staff areas are much more likely to be without any natural light, since perimeter walls and windows are typically dedi- cated to patient rooms. Another motivator re- lated to health and wellness is recruitment and retention. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry will see 1.2 million vacancies for registered nurses over the next fi ve years as boomer-age workers retire, while an ag- ing population places more demand on healthcare sys- tems. The shortfall presents a signifi cant threat to the entire healthcare delivery system. Employers can reduce this risk by investing in the continuing health and wellness of their nurses. Understanding and reducing the eff ects of poor lighting is a great place to start. First do no harm Applying the adage of health- care professionals — First do no harm — is a worthwhile objective. We need to establish more vigilant design practices focused on staff health and wellness. Part of this evolving practice is client education. It has been known for a long time about the benefi ts of natural light, the disadvan- tages of artifi cial lighting and the promise of tunable LED technology. But now several developments contribute to a greater sense of urgency for educating clients on ways to reduce harmful conditions, while creating lasting impacts on health and wellness: > Additional research on the human response to lighting conditions > Better design options for distributing natural light in large buildings > Improved aff ordability, qual- ity and fl exibility of LEDs in healthcare settings Client education can take many forms. While plan- ning the lighting design for Hopeway, a community behavioral healthcare facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, a commitment was made to a re- search initiative with two phas- es — before lighting decisions and then after the hospital was Lighting design to improve staff health, wellness, productivity 1. By locating patient services close to building perimeters and out of the building core, patients and staff can maintain a more natural circadian rhythm. Photo: Carti Cancer Center, Little Rock, Arkansas. 2. Staff at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina is never far from natu- ral light, thanks to a building design offering ample full-height window walls. 3. Lighting and layout of the community conversation space and other patient and staff areas were designed in collaboration with the Hopeway nursing staff. 4. The main lobby design for Hopeway, a nonprofi t behavioral healthcare facil- ity in Charlotte, North Carolina, features a variety of lighting types that support health, wellness and productivity. Fringe Benefi ts 1 2 4 3 Lighting Spotlight BY KEVIN TURNER

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