5 pieces of advice about circadian lighting

Are you considering circadian lighting for your nursing home or hospital? Here are 5 pieces of advice to get started.

Circadian lighting is a technology that contributes to better health for patients and staff, and there is an increasing number of hospitals that make the investment. It can, however, be difficult to navigate what circadian lighting can do for your organization, how it creates the most value, and how to implement it in an effective way. This advice is based on a webinar about circadian lighting with 75+ participants. The webinar took place 3 marts in 2022 in a corporation between CareNet and the circadian lighting company Chromaviso.

  1. Documentation of the effect and results

It is important to do research about documentation from the supplier to achieve the most value for your investment. The goal is to improve health conditions for patients and staff, so a wide range of evidence is important. You can ensure that by getting documentation from clinical and quantitative/qualitative studies, surveys, and personal experiences. It is also important to go to reference visits to see the lighting, and to hear about experiences from others.

  1. Customization and flexibility

Choose a system that fits the individual department and specific group of patients – it cannot be ‘one size fits all’. There is a big variation in the need for lighting and biological impact, whether it is in an intensive care unit, neurorehabilitation, or a nursing home. It demands for a supplier to have the necessary knowledge about the specialties and has the competence to transform it into light that creates health. The system must be flexible, and it should be easy to change the circadian lighting when the individual needs changes. You will achieve that most effectively with an open and standardized system with continuous service from the supplier – preferably via remote connection, so it can be done quickly and cheap.

  1. Implementation is a central part of the solution.

You should consider the implementation of your project from the very beginning if you want it to be successful. Choose a supplier who has implementation a fixed part of the solution. Implementation is not only a technical run-through – it begins with competent guidance about how the project should be prioritized, so it corresponds to your needs. The supplier must take responsibility for the monitoring and the technical delivery until you put it into use. After the implementation, the staff learns how to use the circadian lighting, so everyone in the workplace is instructed. When the implementation is done, a follow-up on the project is important to localize improvements and adjustments to the light. By doing this, you ensure a high degree of user satisfaction from day one.

  1. Technical requirements

The technical specifications are important to improve health and create a convenient environment. These 4 points are important to research:

The nice awakening and bedtime preparation is ensured through slow and smooth fades in the sunrise and at sunset. The natural tiredness appears in the evening and the nice beginning of the day in the morning. It demands a system that delivers a stepless attenuation of the light down to 0,1% of the power.

Natural daylight is the natural boost of light at midday. It must be powerful (6000 Kelvin) but also convenient to be in without any glare. It demands quality lamps and calibration of the rooms.

Light during nighttime must take account of the health of our bodies and circadian rhythm, but also the needs of the staff. This can be combined through biological darkness, which demands that the circadian lighting goes below 1% of the blue light. At the same time, broad-spectrum diodes must create a good color rendering, so the staff is able to orient themselves and see after the patients.

Intuitive operation makes sure that new employees can use it easily. It will accommodate the busy everyday life where the setting of the light is accustomed to the activities in each specific room, so the staff does not have to spend their time on it.

  1. Measuring in new standards

Melanopic EDI is a new method to measure the biological effect of light. It is defined by the international standardization organization CIE. The researchers have made an array of recommendations on how many Melanopic EDI we should have at different times during the day to achieve the best health. It gives you tangible data for the health-promoting effect.