Lighting the way for an improved patient and staff experience at Warwick Hospital

Like hospitals across the country, Warwick Hospital is battling the demands of a tight budget with those of its patient and staff. It is home to the majority of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s acute services including; Accident and Emergency services, Diagnostic and Pathology departments, Endoscopy, Maternity and SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit), Main and Day Surgery Theatres together with an Intensive Care and Coronary Care Unit along with a modern MRI suite. The recent completion of three new wards; namely Thomas, Greville and Beauchamp which will provide geriatric orthopaedic and elective orthopaedic wards along with an Amenity ward in a mix of spacious wards and individual rooms, has been a real boost for Trust. 

An instrumental figure in the management and completion of this construction project as part of the Trust’s Capital Design team is Jeff Bayliss, senior project manager at the hospital and he recognised from the start that getting the lighting right was key for several different reasons. He explains more; “Traditionally lighting has always been a huge proportion of a hospital’s energy budget but with the rapid development of LED solutions that offer a greater level of performance and reliability I was confident that we could provide better lighting for less in these new wards.” Jeff worked closely with WSP Mechanical & Electrical consulting engineers and AFL Architects, who in turn employed the specialist skills and expertise of Century Lighting to devise a lighting scheme that would deliver an optimum working environment, flexibility and comfort for the patients and thirdly meet the energy and cost efficiency criteria of the Trust.  As part of the building design it was of importance to meet the requirements with BREAM not only in lighting but also renewable energy targets. A 50kw solar PV install on the building roof provides plenty of “free” energy which is absorbed into the building.

But it wasn’t just the efficiency of the lighting system that needed to be considered.  Patient and staff comfort were uppermost when WSP and Century Lighting, a partner of Tridonic, came to refining the details for the lighting design and installation. Using standard linear bases on a DALI system, the corridors on all three floors, which equates to a total length in excess of 300 meters, are all fitted with movement sensors that allow the lights in any specific area to dim down to 10% at times of non-occupancy. The other interesting design feature of the corridor lighting, which operates at 4000K on an RA 80, with a special driver from Tridonic designed to meet the specific requirements and outputs, is the placement of the lights to one side of the corridor. This simple design feature means that any patient being wheeled along a corridor is not subject to a barrage of light fittings, flashing past their eye line as they are moved between treatment areas and their ward.

The difference that lighting can make to our well-being is something that we are all aware of and is one element that is being taken far more seriously both in the work place and in terms of how it impacts on patient care. One glance into the spacious four bed side wards show just how far hospital lighting has progressed since each bed used to have its own angle poise light.  Not only were these awkward for nursing staff to work round, they were dangerous and an area of the ward that was nigh on impossible to keep dust and bacteria free. These new wards contain a combination of central 12Watt LED down lights, the light from which is then supplemented by individual over bed, dimmable fittings which the patient can control from their own nurse call point.  These have a dual function in that high quality, targeted light can be provide to medical staff when needed to treat a patient, without disturbing others on the ward, or the patient can select something softer when they may be resting or talking with visitors.  At night time the ward is bathed with a warmer 3K light from a series of night lights that are switch controlled by the nursing staff and which also provide the necessary 24hr spot illumination for the hand washing station.

A very similar lighting situation is found in the individual rooms located on the third floor of the newly built extension. Here the same mix of lighting has been installed to provide the optimum light for any scenario but with the addition of a movement sensor that will reduce light levels to 10% if there is no movement detected in a 20 minute period.

Chris Bourne, Project Manager at Century Lighting has worked closely with Jeff on the project and both men are delighted with the finished results. Chris comments;

“There has been a real sense of team work on this project; Tridonic’s responsiveness to our requirements helped us to ensure we were able to deliver our elements on time, on budget and in line with the requirements of the main electrical contractor, WT Parker Ltd.”

Jeff  is equally upbeat about the finished installation.

“In my role at the hospital you soon get to hear if there is something wrong but the general response from staff and the first few patients has been ‘wow’.”  The staff have moved from an area that was over 30 years old so they are relishing not only the new medical areas but their own work stations areas which have been fitted with the latest light fittings to ensure comfort for them when working on the computers updating records etc.”

“The added bonus of using LED solutions throughout  this new build is the significant improvements offered in terms of maintenance scheduling;” commented Jeff. With a guarantee of five years minimum on all the Tridonic components we are not having to interrupt the important medical care just to change a light bulb. I am confident that the investment we have made in the lighting scheme throughout these wards and their associated areas will deliver across all three areas; namely energy efficiency and usage,  patient and staff well being and morale, and maintenance.”

Century Lighting is equally delighted with the project, which is just one of a series that it has undertaken with the hospital.

Chris Bourne concluded,

“Over the last three years we have worked on a variety of refurbishment projects at the hospital, including  replacing old fashioned lighting fittings with new Tridonic LED boards and associated gears and diffusers, along with a variety of other smaller projects. These projects have been funded using the Government’s Salix funding programme, which has a maximum of five years payback criteria on energy related schemes.  All these projects have delivered good returns but you are only as good as your last project so I’m delighted with the role we have played in helping to deliver an outstanding lighting solution to these new ward.”