Workplace lighting is a very nuanced subject, especially when the psychological and physiological effects that poor lighting can have on people are taken into account. The question of lighting in hospital and health care spaces is particularly tricky due to the diverse lighting needs of patients, professional staff, and family members. ANSI/IES RP-29-20: Recommended Practice: Lighting for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities, published by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), an ANSI-accredited standards developer, contains recommendations for optimal lighting in health care facilities.
About the ANSI/IES RP-29-20 Recommended Practice
The term “health care facilities” spans a range of institutions, including acute care general hospitals, specialized chronic care institutions for the mentally and physically ill, and extended care facilities. Rather than providing detailed specifications, the ANSI/IES RP-29-20 American National Standard serves as a guide to understanding the diversity of health care environments and provides lighting suggestions based on specific patient care profiles.
ANSI/IES RP-29-20 provides both recommendations and the reasoning behind those recommendations. For instance, mental health facilities may use colored light to provide interest and a sense of warmth for patients, but labor rooms should avoid colored light because blood pressure measurements and visual assessment of the patient’s general status require good color rendering.
Factors to Consider in Healthcare Lighting
The implications of lighting on patient well-being are vast. Researchers at Cleveland Clinic’s Nursing Institute found that lower levels of daytime light exposure were associated with worse mood, higher levels of fatigue, and pain in patients when compared with those who had better-lit rooms. This can have serious ramifications in a hospital setting, as patients may already be under stress due to illness and a lack of natural bright light may exacerbate their stress.
As research in the fields of psychology, medicine, architecture, ergonomics, and lighting design progresses, the hospital and health care facility lighting standards are revised to provide the most up-to-date guidelines for both lighting designers and health care professionals. ANSI/IES RP-29-20 revises the previous edition of the American National Standard for illumination for hospitals and health care facilities, which was released in 2006.
ANSI/IES RP-29-20: Recommended Practice: Lighting for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities is available on the ANSI Webstore.