​Lighting Options by Space

Patient Rooms

Patient Rooms

Nowhere is the accommodation of multiple lighting needs more evident than in patient rooms. The environment needs to be welcoming and homelike for the patient and family, while providing the illuminance levels required by the medical, nursing and support staff to perform tasks efficiently. The lighting must be provided in a way that is not distracting to other patients sharing the same space. The patient room lighting systems must provide for:

  • Nursing and patient care

  • Patient observation and monitoring

  • Patient activities: e.g. reading, watching TV, resting

  • Sleep (night lighting)

  • Examination

  • Simple medical procedures

  • Visitation and socializing

  • Patient mobility (safe passage to restroom and corridor).

Design Tips

  • Lighting design should emphasize the needs of the patient. Choice of light sources and luminaires should cater to patients whose primary field of view may often be the ceiling.

  • Provide general lighting that is soft and indirect, and that can be easily controlled by the patient and staff depending on the desired ambiance. Controls should be located at doorway and at patient bed. Overhead general lighting should provide dynamic daylight qualities. At other times light sources with warmer color temperatures (2700K - 3000K) helps patients relax and provide a more homelike setting.

  • Perception of color is critical for patient examination and care. Dedicated light sources and, whether fixed or portable, should have high color rendering characteristics. Examination lighting must be shadow-free, uniform and high CCT and high CRI (5000K+, 85+)

  • Provide local low level illumination at the bed with color quality needed for patient observation, and assessment at night with minimum disturbance. Switched at the doorway.

  • Night lighting identifies and illuminates a path to the lavatory. Usually it is a flush mounted louvered or refractive luminaire,12-18 inches off the floor. Light source color should be in the red/amber range to help keep patient’s circadian rhythm in sync.

  • Housekeepers need oblique lighting across horizontal surfaces to identify dust and dirt. Illuminance levels need to be high enough to provide contrast between dirt and surfaces.

Lighting for patient use

This includes patient controlled lighting for day and nighttime reading, self-care, mobility, TV watching, etc., While there have been many recent developments in “bed-head” lighting units for these task, most hospitals still rely on room lighting, wall mounted, bed mounted or portable luminaires. In general reading light should be at the normal reading position, about 45 inches above the floor. To allow freedom to turn in bed, the area of the reading plane should be 3 square feet for an adjustable luminaire and 6 square feet for a fixed luminaire. Illuminance level should not be less than 2/3 of the illuminance at the center.


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