How Well-Designed Hospital Lighting Makes for a Better Patient Experience

Apr 10, 2019

natural light in a hospital

As spring arrives and the days become longer, natural light will be in abundance across the nation. This is important for the everyday wellbeing of people. Sunlight has been proven to improve mood and increase focus, among a variety of other healthy side effects but it's also a boon for hospital patients, as well. Over the years, architects have changed the design of modern hospitals to maximize natural lighting in treatment centers, and for good reason. 

Natural Light is Not a Cure, but it Still Helps

While natural light won't act as a cure for disease, it plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of patients, according to recent research. When patients are exposed to natural light during hospital stays, they are: 

  • More likely to be in a good mood 

  • Stay for shorter periods 

  • Have improved circadian rhythms, leading to better sleep 

  • Are less agitated 

  • Less stressed 

  • Better reactions to pain 

This same research has also shown marketed improvements in the performance of hospital staff. When natural light is in abundance in a hospital settings, physicians and nurses experience the following benefits: 

  • Increased focus 

  • A reduction in treatment errors 

  • Better mood 

  • Less on-the-job stress 

Lighting Effects in Behavioral Health Facilities

Natural light also has a positive effect on patients staying in behavioral health facilities. One study showed that bright artificial light improves non-seasonal depression, which led to researchers performing a study on inpatients suffering from bipolar and unipolar depression. The study split the patients between west and east facing rooms. The patients in eastern facing rooms, where direct sunlight was present in the morning, had significantly shorter (3.67 days) hospital stays. 

How Hospitals Are Letting in the Light

Natural light has long been a growing trend in hospital design, which is why hospitals are increasing the size and number of windows both in patient rooms and common areas in their facilities. When windows cannot be present, designers are implementing better artificial lighting sources that have been proven to lift moods and increase patients' wellness and satisfaction with their stay. The days of harsh, fluorescent lighting are being put behind us, and we are seeing an increase in LED lighting that is not only more pleasing to the eye, but also more environmentally friendly. LED lighting systems can consume up to 80% less energy, which pushes facilities towards greater environmental sustainability. 

More natural light means a better view of every whiteboard in your facility! Looking for custom patient room boards? Contact VividBoard today.