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Press Release: Patient-Centered Lighting Control System Wins Innovation Award

Karpinski Engineering’s patient-centered approach to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) corridor lighting won an innovation award in this year’s Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Illumination Awards.

The lighting system at the Cleveland Clinic’s new Intensive Care Unit at Fairview Hospital was presented the international Lighting Control Innovation Award, receiving a Special Citation for Innovative Lighting Controls Employed Within a Corridor. The award is “prestigious,” recognizing “good lighting projects that exemplify the effective use of lighting controls in nonresidential applications” (2014 Illumination Awards Program Booklet).

Fairview Hospital ICU corridor lighting at different times of day

Lighting designed with patient healing in mind

Fairview Hospital’s ICU corridor lighting is specially programmed to mimic the day/night cycle. The lights slowly brighten during the day and then gradually dim until sunset, remaining at the lowest level allowed by code through the night (see photo above). Timing is based on the astronomical time clock – so the indoor lighting imitates nature’s light cycle on any given day.

The goal of the lighting system, said electrical engineer Shawn Callahan, who came up with the idea, is to help patients maintain their circadian rhythm and sleep more soundly.

Electrical engineer Adam Butauski explained that the team used lighting controls typically used in conference rooms and repurposed them for the corridors. Butauski worked with the controls manufacturer to implement the design.

Inspired by hospital staff

User group meetings – that is, meetings of Cleveland Clinic staff who would be working in the ICU – inspired the lighting design. When Callahan asked nurses how they controlled the ICU lights, he learned that they manually turned the hallway lights on and off to simulate day and night for patients. He also learned that nurses’ frequent patient monitoring caused rooms to be flooded with hallway light.

Callahan thought there had to be a better way, and he found one. Not only is the corridor lighting cycle automated, but hallway lights are also placed so that they don’t shine directly into patient rooms when doors are opened. Night lights in patient rooms are placed to assist nurses without disturbing patients.

“We wanted to design a system that would help patients heal, sleep, and feel better in an otherwise uncomfortable space,” said Callahan.

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