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Lighting Changing our Moods

Arcare Human Centric Lighting Trial. 


Human Centric Lighting (HCL) has been researched in Europe for the last 20 years, and is now being implemented in schools, offices, prisons and nursing homes, throughout Europe. 

What is HCL? 

Human centric lighting is defined by Lighting Europe as a type of lighting that can benefit the biological, emotional, health, or wellbeing of people. 

Case study: Tom Cross 


Tom Cross is my father, an 86 year old dementia sufferer who has also had a right-brain stroke, (the latter has made it necessary for him to be placed in an aged care facility, Arcare Malvern East). 

Tom has been at Arcare for about a year, and has been doing well, but is “Sundowning” (a symptom of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It's also known as “late-day confusion) in the afternoons between 1 and 3pm, where he tends to wander aimlessly, saying he is “bored’ or “hungry” (while not actually being hungry), and has to be entertained or distracted by staff, and often asks his children to “take him home” even though the home was sold 12 months ago, and is waking at around 5;30-6am and sometimes falling as he attempts to get out of bed by himself (his mobility has been affected by the stroke). 

The Trial: 

Best Practice Lighting approached the management at Arcare about the possibility of trialling a Human Centric light panel in Tom’s room, with outcomes of more cognition and alertness during the day, and a better quality of sleep at night as the desired result. 

Arcare, was more than happy to trial something that could potentially benefit many residents, as well as reducing fatigue and increasing productivity for staff (night staff in particular), as well as saving on power bills. 

An HCL panel was affixed to the ceiling above where Tom sits during the day (as his mobility is not the best, he generally sits watching television most of the day), reducing the amount of downlights in the room by 3, (immediate power savings as less electricity is required), and as the room is quite large, (double with ensuitte) we are waiting on an oyster HCL light to install above the bed, reducing the amount of lights from 5 downlights to the one oyster, making a total of two lights instead of 8. 

Short term outcomes: 

After just 8 days in place, staff are reporting much less wandering, less restlessness, and sleeping between 5 and 10 minutes longer each morning, meaning the sleep/wake cycle is becoming more in tuned with circadian rhythms. 

I have found my father to be much less agitated, more content and in a better emotional state than before the lights went in. We are saving power and giving my father a much better quality of life, and that is priceless as far as I’m concerned! 

We at Best Practice Lighting are very excited to continue to monitor the outcomes of HCL on residents with dementia, as well as the staff that care for them, as there are benefits for both patient and carer alike.

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