• HuntonBrady Architects

Capturing Daylight - Healthcare Market Trends

It may come as no surprise that one of the best and most cost-effective design tools available is daylight. Access to daylight has been proven to positively impact medical outcomes, decrease healing times, reduce length of hospital stay, increase productivity, and generally improve health and well-being. By default, due to existing facilities often having large floorplates, many spaces in hospitals lack access to daylight which can have a negative impact on both staff and patients.

Correlating Light and Health


There are many opportunities to integrate daylight into a project, beginning with the shape of the facility itself.  We have found that curved buildings have opportunities for internal courtyards and a massing that “breaks down the box” which is effective for increased daylighting and creating distinct brand architecture. The most obvious daylighting benefits are most apparent in the patient room where a window is a basic requirement. In 2013, Environmental Health Insights conducted a clinical trial that tested evidence-based designs of physical environments in a hospital; 38,788 patients were placed with a bed near the window and 46,233 patients were placed with a bed near the door. Results showed that the patients’ length of stay was shorter for those near a window compared to those near the door. Simply considering the shape of the window to frame a view, or angling the furniture toward the window can have a significant impact on the well-being of the patient and family members.


There are additional opportunities to capture daylight in treatment areas, including orienting chairs and treatment cubicles in cancer center infusion suites to the outdoors, and placing workout equipment in physical therapy suites to capture the views. These views provide a sense of respite as well as serve as a distraction during extended treatment sessions.


Ceramic frit glass is a unique solution that incorporates controlled natural light into hospitals. The use of ceramic frit glass has been gaining momentum as hospitals continue to install more glass on the exteriors of their facilities in large, public spaces that welcome guests and are especially subject in West facing orientations. The glass allows hospitals to reduce heat gain and omit the installment of window treatments. The elimination of the need for blinds or curtains is helpful for maintenance and Infection Control — two major concerns within the healthcare sector. The glass also prevents employees from having to adjust the blinds and shades as the sun moves. We have implemented the use of ceramic frit glass in many of our healthcare projects, including AdventHealth Wesley Chapel and the AdventHealth Tampa Tower Expansion.

Daylight: Not Just for Patients


Placing a window at the end of a corridor, in the staff lounge, or in a conference room can provide a glimpse of the weather or nature which can reduce stress levels and increase the sense of well-being of hospital staff. Creating comfortable, welcoming, light-filled spaces allows patients to recover more quickly and reduce their medication needs, while enabling staff to be less stressed and perform better. Full-spectrum light controls viral and staph infections and also significantly improves physical working capacity by decreasing heart and pulse rates, lowering blood pressure, and increasing oxygen uptake.


With more exciting healthcare projects on the horizon and ever-changing technologies, our HuntonBrady team continues to explore and learn in order to serve our clients with innovative solutions best suited for their project and budget. We are always looking toward the future of healthcare design.


References:


Park, M. Y., Chai, C., Lee, H., Moon, H., & Noh, J. S. (2018, December 03). The Effects of Natural Daylight on Length of Hospital Stay. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6287302/

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