Photo: Lac Vieux Desert Health Center – Watersmeet, MI
Solar therapy, in both belief and practice, existed long before the advent of modern medicine; and even as far back as Ancient Rome and Greece, the Sun’s status as a source of health and healing in an otherwise unsteady universe greatly influenced the design of medicinal spaces. Heliopolis, the “City of the Sun”, was distinguished for its therapeutic temples designed to shower the sick and injured in a spectrum of light and color that helped heal their ailments. The ancients held this belief with such fervency that in addition to being god of the Sun, the deity Apollo was also hailed as the master of medicine.
In the early 1900’s modern medicine and research confirmed the legitimacy of solar therapy with the treatment of tuberculosis, rickets, and jaundice. These and other heliotherapeutic practices that use sunlight exposure to naturally remedy various health conditions have helped direct healthcare design towards daylighting. Recent studies also show significant correlations between the abundance of natural lighting and the well-being of hospital patients, visitors, and staff members. One such study by the Center of Healthcare Design provides evidence that, on average, greater amounts of daylight in a healthcare environment:
- Reduced length of hospital stays
- Expedited post-operative recovery
- Improved perception of quality of care
- Lessened agitation among patients with dementia
- Reduced pain and need for pain relief
- Improved sleep quality
- Bettered staff performance
- Improved weight gain and motor coordination among preterm infants in neonatal units
- Decreased days on ventilator among preterm infants
- Reduced depression
- Increased facility satisfaction
- Relieved stress and anxiety
- Lowered medication and follow up costs
- Improved overall comfortability
With new evidence to substantiate old world beliefs – that abundant natural light and views of nature can help people heal – it’s important our healthcare facilities are designed with daylighting in mind. A well-lit hospital not only benefits the physiological and psychological health of its occupants, but also creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere in an environment often associated with ill feelings and negative thinking. Because the perceived quality of a facility and its staff is so often influenced by how comfortable we feel in that space, adding daylight to lobbies, waiting rooms, consulting rooms, and recovery areas is shown to improve patient and visitor satisfaction.
At Major Industries, we understand that incorporating daylight into a complex floor plan such as a healthcare facility can be difficult. That is why our supportive sales staff is here to help you find the right glazing material, the right balance, and the right solution to your daylighting challenge!