7 Oct, 2019 | Written by Premis

Extending Daylighting in Hospitals

Research studies have shown that patients who have access to natural light recover faster, are happier, and need less pain relief than those who are exposed solely to artificial lighting.

Providing patients with plenty of exposure to natural light – otherwise known as daylighting – helps in regulating circadian rhythms and improving sleep, and delivers all the obvious health benefits that go with it.

Here’s a few different ways hospital design is evolving to extend access to natural light in patient rooms, staff areas and even the operating theatre.

Daylighting the Patient Room

Ensuring abundant natural light in patient rooms doesn’t require big changes in design.  Simply by positioning the rooms appropriately, using larger windows or even incorporating a skylight here and there ensures patients will not only benefit from natural light, but they might also have a view of the world outside. 

Too much light, however, can have a negative impact.  Care should be taken to avoid any excessive glare or heat through windows.  Suitable block-out curtains or blinds can also be installed.

Exposing Staff to Natural Light

With hospital staff working long shifts that often span both night and day, daylighting staff areas such as nurses’ stations, staff rooms and dining areas can provide a relaxing environment for staff when they are on a break.

The impact of natural light exposure in the hospital as a workplace has shown that with access to daylight, workers are happier, have better relationships with their co-workers, and most importantly for medical staff, are less likely to make mistakes on the job.

Bringing Natural Light into the Operating Theatre

With the daylighting of patient rooms, staff and family areas becoming more common, many hospitals have extended access to natural light into another area where staff and patients can spend long periods of the day – the operating theatre.

The Providence St. Peter Hospital in Washington features skylights in the sterile core of the operating theatre, with the adjoining corridor filled with natural light from large windows.  Solutions for procedures that need specific lighting have also been implemented, with Germany’s University Hospital Dusseldorf using interior and exterior shading devices to control and redirect daylight when required.  Triple-pane glazing has also been installed to filter out UV light and reduce heat gain.

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