Issue 1 : Better Lighting in an ER

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The lack of flexibility and localized control of lighting within the patient room affects patient’s sense of control, comfort and mood, as well as staff’s ability to perform multiple functions (surgery, read x-ray, view patient history on computer screen). This can result in “makeshift” lighting solutions, patient inter-room transfers and patient discomfort.


  • According to an article in Healthcare World one of the major causes of stress for patients is loss of control in the hospital. Research shows that giving patient’s control of lights in their immediate environment can lower their stress levels.
  • Effective lighting can produce a calming environment that also allows for critical visual tasks.
  • According to one of our experts, lack of flexible ligthting in patient rooms causes inter-room patient transfers which can increase patient stress. It also increases the staff labor involved.


  • Define staff task and lighting needs.
  • How easy or difficult it is for the patient to control the lighting.
  • Number of patient transfers due to insufficient lighting.
  • The maintenance and financial cost incurred with the lighting system vs. the labor costs involved in inter room tranfers.

Comments: Ackerman There is a large body of literature about the optimum lighting needed for different tasks, accessing this would be helpful. Focus where you want to address lighting more. Do you want to examine the physician/nursing work areas, the patient's bedside, dedicated procedure rooms? This issue of reading radiographic studies is interesting but not important as most patients (when I am good and show the patient their films) will only see the obvious finding or the general sense of something I have already found - we don't need to do full radiology reads at the bedside, just answer a more focused question. More likely than moving the patient (except for a patient in a room not suited for procedures) is moving lighting into the room - this adds more cords and more equipment taking up space. Other things to consider - energy consumption, heating from lights, cost of lighting systems, ease of staff adjusting lighting. Lighting for procedures needs a bit of flexibility so I can position the patient comfortably and see.