Cardiological intensive Care, Rigshospitalet Copehagen
New technology stabilises the circadian rhythm of intensive care heart patients at Copenhagen University Hospital. The cardiological intensive care unit is focused on new technological initiatives that support and optimise treatment. One of them is Ergonomic Circadian Lighting, which improves the conditions for patients as well as staff.
The driving force behind the new light in the cardiological intensive care unit is the charge nurse Charlotte Illum, who is happy to use new technology if it contributes to improvement of the patient care.
”I saw Ergonomic Circadian Lighting being used in the neuro intensive care unit at Aarhus University Hospital a couple of years ago. After that, I signed up for a theme day on innovation, where we were presented with a complete sensory stimulation concept, CURAVIVO, which consists of Ergonomic Circadian Lighting, noise masking/ music intervention, visual observation and info monitors. Later, we were given the opportunity of establishing Ergonomic Circadian Lighting at nine beds as well as in the nurses’ office. We have now had Ergonomic Circadian Lighting for a year. The light is adapted to the patients’ circadian rhythm and the unit’s work routines and work hours – and this makes a great difference in our daily lives”.
Stable circadian rhythm for vulnerable patients
”As an intensive care unit, we receive very ill patients at the clinic of cardiovascular medicine with a need for highly specialised care and treatment”, explains Charlotte Illum and continues:
”Our patients are vulnerable – and we have a lot of patients with intensive delirium in the shape of unclear consciousness, disorientation, weakened short-term memory and changed sleep patterns. For these patients, a stable circadian rhythm is important – if the rhythm is shifted just one hour, it affects the condition of the body. Therefore, we are very focused on avoiding disturbance of the sleeping patients at night.”
Ergonomic Circadian Lighting is preprogrammed to follow the rhythm of the sun during the day – and provide protective night light. The light starts up nice and easy in the morning and wakes the patients with a natural sunrise. The unit has three rooms with two beds each and one room with three beds with Ergonomic Circadian Lighting – and there is an individual installation over each bed.
”With the zoned light, we can keep the room dark at night and only turn on light around a single bed in an emergency situation”, says Charlotte Illum.
Preprogrammed light control
The staff has taken Ergonomic Circadian Lighting to heart, even though, according to Charlotte Illum, there has been some scepticism, because Circadian Lighting must be used in a completely new way.
”Ergonomic Circadian Lighting is preprogrammed and changes automatically over the day and night. It is a challenge to keep the staff from changing the light. After all, they are used to controlling the light as needed”.
A step forward – and preferably more
It is a fact that people perceive light differently. Some appreciate particularly strong light and others are more sensitive to light – this applies to patients as well as staff. Ergonomic Circadian Lighting is programmed to make sure that as many as possible get optimal light influence around the clock. Charlotte Illum says:
”In any case, Ergonomic Circadian Lighting is an initiative that improves the conditions for our patients – and that is a step forward. Ergonomic Circadian Lighting is an example of a technology that can help the patients. We usually say that the difference is experienced as if we have been given skylights or have moved to the top floor – thanks to Circadian Lighting.”