LED lighting usage is expanding in health care facilities because it provides longer life, lower heat output and greater design flexibility than traditional lighting. What's more, LED is being integrated into building automation systems, and provides dimming and sensing control options.
Despite the latest technological advances, hospitals still pose special challenges to manufacturers of lighting systems. Health care environments are inherently challenging spaces in terms of the critical tasks being performed. It is crucial to have sufficient task illumination for patient diagnosis, exams and surgical procedures. Systems need to provide ambient light levels for safe navigation and wayfinding. Also, hospital rooms need to offer versatile lighting capabilities for patient comfort.
"More procedures and examinations are being performed in the patient room itself, and the hybrid operating room format has changed the scale and layout of surgical suites. As a result, lighting systems need to be more versatile — addressing multiple tasks in a space," says Karyn Gayle, vice president, health care, at Acuity Brands, Atlanta.
Highly specialized procedures, tasks and applications need to be considered when specifying lighting for health care facilities. Standards must be applied to successfully address issues of infection control, energy usage, maintenance and — in the case of magnetic resonance imaging and surgical suites — mitigation of electromagnetic and radiofrequency interference.
"Hospital lighting must support the overall integrity of the most general to the most highly specialized health care environments within the facility," says Rich Stam, southeast regional sales manager, Kenall Manufacturing, Gurnee, Ill. "Lighting fixtures must deliver superior optical performance to accommodate the needs of both patient and caregiver, without disturbing sensitive electrical devices."