Quality of light in a long term care facility in the Netherlands
Exposure to light can affect human experiences, performance, and physiology via both image-forming and non-image forming processes. (Day)light is a key concept for life enrichment care facilities. ‘Life enrichment care’ is a concept based on healing environments, which targets long term care facilities (Ltcf) rather than hospitals. This concept focuses on the well-being and quality of life of frail elderly in Ltcf. Among Lctf residents are often people who suffer from some form of dementia. For this group, the image-forming and non-image forming aspects of light play a role. The image-forming or visual aspects of light include the ability to perform daily tasks, and are related to the prevention of falls. The most important non-image forming aspect of light is light's influence on controlling circadian rhythms, or the “biological clock”. Older adults with dementia often suffer from disturbances in circadian rhythm, which can lead to behavioral problems including nocturnal unrest. This nocturnal unrest is mostly treated with sleep medication. However, in previous research, the emphasis was on light in general and electric lighting in specific. No clear distinction was made between electric lighting and daylight4. This study investigates the effect of (day)light on the well-being of frail elderly and healthcare professionals in Ltcf. This paper describes the current quality of light at a Ltcf in the Netherlands, which is discussed with reference to currently available recommended values.
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