Lighting ICUs for Patient Wellbeing (03-31-17)

The lighting in hospital intensive care units influences patients' wellbeing, even a year after they are discharged from the hospital.  Researchers have found that “With light adapted to the time of day, health even improves for patients who are barely conscious when they are admitted for care. . . . In order to counterbalance the traditional ICU department with low levels of daylight and nights when lighting is frequently turned on [researchers tested an] experimental environment with so-called cyclical lighting that changed during the day. . . . Mornings began with a weak, reddish dawn light, which, at around 8 am turned to a strong, blue light similar to daylight. In the middle of the day, the strength of the light was reduced slightly so that patients would also be able to experience existing daylight to subsequently be increased again in the afternoon.  Towards the evening, the light became weaker and warmer again. At that time, the light sources were also placed at a lower height; in the evening only a weak and warm light was emitted from the skirting boards. . . . ‘The patients were very satisfied with the lighting environment. It had a calming function and helped in supporting the circadian rhythm. . . .’ says Marie Engwall. . . . [a survey conducted 12 months after their discharge from the hospital found that] ‘Patients cared for in our experimental room demonstrated significantly better self-rated recovery . . . compared to patients in the control group. . . .’ says Marie Engwall.”

“Patients in Intensive Care Feel Better with Light Adapted to the Time of Day.”  2017.  Press release, University of Gothenburg,