Lighting the way for a better patient and staff experience at Warwick Hospital

Author : Matt Caygill, Business Development Manager at Tridonic

06 November 2017

Like other hospitals across the country, Warwick Hospital is battling the demands of a tight budget with the needs of its patients and staff. It is home to the majority of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s acute services, including Accident and Emergency services. With the recent completion of three new orthopaedic wards at the Trust, this piece reviews how LED lighting solutions have contributed to a better environment, at a lower cost.

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An instrumental figure in the management and completion of this construction project, and part of the Trust’s capital design team, is Jeff Bayliss, senior project manager at the hospital. Bayliss recognised from the start that getting the lighting right was key for several different reasons. As he explains: “Traditionally, lighting has always been a huge proportion of a hospital’s energy budget, but with the rapid development of LED solutions offering greater levels of performance and reliability, I was confident that we could deliver better lighting for less in these new wards.”

Bayliss worked closely with WSP Mechanical & Electrical consulting engineers and AFL Architects, who in turn employed the specialist skills and expertise of Century Lighting to devise a lighting scheme that would deliver, alongside an optimum working environment, flexibility and comfort for the patients – while meeting the energy and cost efficiency criteria of the Trust. As part of the building design, it was important to meet BREEAM sustainability rating requirements – not only in lighting, but also renewable energy targets. A 50kw solar PV installation on the rooftop provides plenty of ‘free’ energy, which is absorbed into use across the building.

But it wasn’t just the efficiency of the lighting system that needed to be considered. Patient and staff comfort were uppermost when WSP and Century Lighting, a partner of lighting solution provider, Tridonic, began to refine the details for the lighting design and installation.

Using standard linear bases on a DALI system, the corridors on all three floors (equating to a total length in excess of 300 metres) are all fitted with movement sensors that allow the lights, in any specific area, to dim down to 10% at times of non-occupancy.

The other interesting design feature of the corridor lighting, which operates at 4000K on an RA 80 – with a special driver from Tridonic designed to meet the specific requirements and outputs – is the placement of the lights to one side of the corridor. This simple design feature means that patients being wheeled along a corridor are not subject to a barrage of light fittings, flashing past their eyeline, as they are moved between treatment areas and their ward.

The difference that lighting can make to our well-being is something that we are all aware of, and is one element that is beginning to be taken far more seriously – both in the workplace and in terms of how it impacts on patient care. One glance into the spacious four bedside wards show just how far hospital lighting has progressed, since each bed used to have its own angle poise light. Not only were these awkward for nursing staff to work around, they were dangerous and near impossible to sanitise.

These new wards contain a combination of central 12W LED downlights, whose output is then supplemented by individual over bed, dimmable fittings, which the patient can control from their own nurse call point. These have a dual function: high quality, targeted light can be provided to medical staff to treat a patient, without disturbing others on the ward; or, the patient can select something softer, for example, when they are resting or talking with visitors.

At night, the ward is bathed with a warmer 3K light from a series of nightlights, which are switch-controlled by the nursing staff and provide the handwashing station with 24-hour spot illumination.

A very similar lighting situation is found in the individual rooms located on the third floor of the newly-built extension. Here, the same mix of lighting has been installed to provide the optimum light for any scenario – but with the addition of a movement sensor that will reduce light levels to 10% if there is no movement detected in a 20-minute period.

Chris Bourne, project manager at Century Lighting, worked closely with Bayliss on the project, and both are delighted with the results. Bourne comments, “There has been a real sense of teamwork on this project; Tridonic’s responsiveness to our requirements helped us to ensure we were able to deliver our elements on time, on budget, and in line with the requirements of the main electrical contractor, WT Parker Ltd.”

Bayliss is equally upbeat about the finished installation: “In my role at the hospital, you soon get to hear if there is something wrong, but the general response from staff and patients has been ‘wow’.” The staff have moved from an area that was over 30 years old, so they are relishing – not only the new medical areas – but their own workstations, which have been fitted with the latest light fittings to ensure comfort when updating computer records and so on.

“The added bonus of using LED solutions throughout this new build is the significant improvements offered in terms of maintenance scheduling,” commented Jeff. With a guarantee of five years minimum on all the Tridonic components, we are not having to interrupt important medical care just to change a light bulb. I am confident that the investment we have made in the lighting scheme, throughout these wards and their associated areas, will deliver across all three areas – namely energy efficiency and usage, patient and staff well-being and morale, and maintenance.”

Century Lighting is equally delighted with the project. As Bourne concludes: “Over the last three years, we have worked on a variety of refurbishment projects at the hospital, including replacing old fashioned lighting fittings with new Tridonic LED boards and associated gears and diffusers, along with a variety of other, smaller projects. These projects have been funded using the Government’s Salix funding programme, which has a maximum of five years’ payback criteria on energy-related schemes. All these projects have delivered good returns, but you are only as good as your last project – so I’m delighted with the role we have played in helping to deliver an outstanding lighting solution to these new wards.”

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