How to light hospital rooms

By: Secom
23 de February, 2022
Reading time: 5 min

The lighting in a hospital room or on a ward has to strike a balance between comfort and functionality. The atmosphere should soothe the patient, while doctors and other healthcare staff must have sufficient lighting for carrying out their work.

In this article we will talk about...

  • The benefits of proper lighting in hospital rooms
  • Features of lighting in hospital rooms
  • Recommended luminaires

The benefits of proper lighting in hospital rooms

Getting the lighting right in hospital rooms or on wards has several benefits, in terms of both patient recovery and the work of healthcare professionals.

Patient well-being

A lot happens in a hospital room, from examinations and consultations to entertaining the patient. The lighting design must prevent glare and the impact this can have on well-being. Ideally, the system will incorporate dimmable luminaires that can be adjusted to suit any situation.

Blinking lights can cause visual fatigue and headaches and this must be prevented to protect patients who spend long continuous periods on wards where this is a risk.

Habitación del hospital

Working environment

In addition to ensuring patient well-being, hospital lighting must enable healthcare professionals to do their jobs. Each area of a hospital – whether isolation rooms to protect against airborne diseases, the ICU, obstetric wards, paediatric wards, geriatric wards or psychiatric wards – has its own set of specific needs. The staff who work there must have the right lighting conditions to enable them to do their jobs to the best of their ability.


In view of the long hours that many patients spend in hospital, the lighting systems need to be versatile enough to adapt to any situation. When it comes to ambient lighting, a luminaire with a UGR<19 diffuser can maintain the light level in the whole space without causing glare for the patient, thus ensuring their visual comfort and enabling them to rest.

Hospital rooms are used for examining patients and also for reading, whether documents and medical records or books and magazines. The electronic equipment that powers the luminaires needs to have an anti-flicker filter installed to prevent visual fatigue while maintaining the average light level required in both these situations. The system should also ideally be equipped with devices to adjust the luminous flux to the specific needs of each activity.

Pleasant atmosphere

Lighting should create a pleasant, soothing atmosphere and ensure the desired lighting level at all times. Some patients prefer to rest or sleep during most of the day, whereas others are more active and require more light.

Iluminación hospitales Braga

Features of lighting in hospital rooms

As already mentioned, hospital rooms accommodate a variety of activities and the lighting system must therefore meet a series of requirements to ensure the right conditions are provided in each case. For example:

Recommended lighting levels

The average lighting level for achieving suitable ambient lighting is 80-100 lux. For reading or administering nursing care, however, the required levels are 400 and 800 lux, respectively. Bedside lights break the uniformity of the lighting in the room but provide additional comfort.

Patients may wish to read to pass the time, while healthcare staff must conduct routine examinations. In these situations, the average lighting level must be at least 300 lux, while a minimum level of approximately 100 lux should be maintained in the room at all times.

For detailed medical examinations a level of 1000 lux is required. A portable examination lamp may be necessary to achieve this.

Preventing glare

Glare must be avoided since it is a source of continuous discomfort which impacts patient well-being and the quality of the light in their room. Hospital lighting systems should create as homely an atmosphere as possible to boost patients’ mood and recovery.

Dimmable lighting

Comfort is achieved by making the room a pleasant environment for the patient. With that in mind, dimmable lighting has an important role to play. By enabling the patient to control the lighting system from their bed, they can adjust the light to suit their needs and personal preferences.

Iluminación en la habitación de un hospital

Exploiting natural light

Natural light always affects lighting quality as well as people’s well-being. For that reason, hospital lighting systems should make the most of all natural light available. A great approach is to include light sensors that automatically regulate the luminous flux to ensure the same lighting levels throughout the space at all times.

Colour temperature

For a long time, hospital lighting systems used cool colour temperatures. Things have changed, and there is now more of a focus on well-being in relation to lighting. Warm tones of around 2700K create a pleasant atmosphere, while 4000K or 5000K are appropriate levels for patient examinations, when the colour temperature has to be greater so that doctors can easily distinguish colours and skin tones, etc.

Patient comfort can be increased further by installing LED luminaires that enable automated colour temperature variation based on the time of day. The patient’s circadian rhythm can be maintained by using colder colour temperatures in the morning and warmer temperatures as the day goes on.

Recommended luminaires

High quality LED luminaires are the best choice for hospital rooms in view of their unparalleled adaptability and energy efficiency and long useful life. SECOM ILUMINACIÓN supplies a range of products that meet these requirements. Here are just a few:

Loop Supra

This luminaire can be recessed and is ideal for spaces requiring constant lighting. It ensures high visual comfort and its UGR<17 rating means it prevents glare. It is the perfect lighting fixture for hospital rooms give its high performance and features.

Gama Aircom

As well as being highly energy efficient, this LED luminaire provides uniform light to create a soothing atmosphere. It also guarantees low levels of glare, making it ideal for use in hospital rooms.

All of the requirements we have mentioned should be taken into consideration when designing a lighting system for hospital rooms or wards. Patient well-being and the lighting conditions for hospital staff should be the priority when planning how to light healthcare facilities.

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