Masters of Health Magazine September 2018 - Page 11

Visual Health I

Healthcare Environment. Why is this field so important? Health-care is a major burden for modern societies and we have the mission of improving the delivery of care without comprising the quality of service.

Light can be considered as a drug, and it has profound effects on wellbeing and wellness of staff, clinicians and patients, the main active stakeholders in this scenario. These three main groups have different request for lighting. Staff has usually an office schedule, clinicians have to work 24h/7 on shifts, and patients need to recover and sleep. I call this competing demands. In the case of clinicians and patients, the demands have to be covered at the same time in the same space: we need the ED clinician to reduce medical errors in interventions improving their performance, at the same time that patients need to be calm and relaxed; in the patient room nurses have to treat patients at night with regular checks and medication delivery, without interrupting the patient sleep; and with the 24/7 nurses and clinicians we try to avoid their endocrine disruption while we keep them awake and focused at night.

It is known that light, together with noise, is a main disruptor for patients healing and wellbeing, and that proper light exposure can reduce patient length of stay and improve the healing process. We are making progress in researching how light can improve the delivery of care without negatively affecting its quality.

This is a new frontier for the change of paradigm in healthcare. Taking into account that the house, whatever this ends up being in the future, is beginning to be the hospital of the future, residential lighting becomes also very important, particularly for the elderly and for people with low vision.