Creating A Less Intimidating Hospital Experience

Light isn’t just for seeing what’s in front of us – it provokes an emotional response, too. Research from the Netherlands explores how lighting can reduce patient anxiety and increase staff wellbeing.


In the design of healthcare facilities, medical professionals and architects are increasingly realising the importance of creating a ‘healing environment’ that addresses the totality of patient and staff needs. This more holistic approach is driven by the recognition that a patient’s perception of the physical environment in a hospital can affect his or her sense of wellbeing and, potentially, health. 


The biological effects of light 

Lighting solutions, and lighting installations for healing environments in particular, should take into account all three aspects of light – visual, emotional and biological. The right balance depends on the function of the space and the activities that are performed.

This approach is reflected in human-centric lighting design solutions. A dynamic lighting solution for a patient room, for example, allows the colour and temperature levels to be changed according to the time of day. The lighting can be controlled (automatically or individually by staff and patients) according to their requirements at the time. 

This solution utilises certain characteristics of natural light, thus putting patients and visitors at ease (emotional), helping healthcare professionals to perform in a more relaxed and effective way (visual), and increasing the quality of sleep for patients (biological). Special consideration is usually given to one of the lighting aspects: visual, emotional or biological, depending on the application.