Healthcare, How to Light

How to Light: How to light a hospital treatment room

Treatment rooms are those areas that are ‘midway’ between a hospital ward, where patients are brought to recover after surgery. 

All hospital areas have to be clean, but some have to be cleaner than others and some must be completely sterile. Before considering lighting a treatment room, you need to know what degree of protection is required. There may be some materials you cannot use or the hospital may use particular techniques and chemicals for cleaning the room surfaces and luminaires.

Related to this is that most luminaires in treatment rooms are recessed and suspended, direct and indirect and wall mounted uplights all have ledges and horizontal surfaces that can collect dust.

Note also that hospital ceiling voids often contain a lot of services and can be quite deep. When you use recessed luminaires, you need to check what is going to be above them.

Another major issue to consider is glare. Glare is important because most patients in a treatment room will be lying on their back and, therefore, looking directly at the ceiling. A glare source that might seem quite minimal in an office can cause discomfort or even distress to a patient in a hospital.

If the treatment table is in a fixed location, you can design the lighting so that no luminaires are directly overhead and there is no view of the light source. The other solution is to use luminaires that have a very low luminance, which makes the diffuser or lens more comfortable to look at.

Treatment rooms put much greater emphasis on local lighting, which provides high levels of illumination over a small area. Glamox specialise in this type of luminaire and have a large range in all shapes and sizes.

If you have never designed for hospitals, you might assume that every aspect of the lighting is tightly specified and there would be little choice as to the equipment or layout. Apart from a National Health Service document on lighting and colour, the most comprehensive, and most often quoted guidance, is the Society of Light and Lighting’s LG2 ‘Hospitals and Healthcare Buildings’ 2008. The UK Department of Health also endorses LG2 for guidance on hospital lighting. 

Lighting specifications

As a general rule, you need 500 lux over the whole area and 1,000 lux, or more, over the treatment table.   

For a variety of reasons, if there are any wall mounted luminaires, they should be 1.8m above floor level. There are strict intensity limits for luminaires mounted lower than this height.

In terms of colour rendering, the recommendations are that all lighting in clinical areas should have a CRI of no less than 80 and have a CCT of 4,000K. In specialist areas such as those used for treatment rooms or examination, CRI >90 is required. Note that this applies to the immediate task area and is usually provided by a dedicated fixed or mobile examination lamp.

Our treatment room is approximately 6.5m x 8.5m with a 3m ceiling. All the options achieve over 600 lux horizontal at the level of the treatment table. 

Option A – Central area

Option A - Central area

This uses the C90-R modular unit to concentrate the light in the central area whilst avoiding being directly over the patient on the treatment table. The main feature of this luminaire is that it appears trimless, the light completely fills the space between the ceiling tiles. This is achieved by having a frame that is less than 12mm wide so it is hidden by the T-bar frame.

There are high intensity LHH examination lights over the treatment tables. These are fully adjustable and can provide over 1,000 lux on the patient.

There are supplementary D60 downlights over the desk area.

At-a-glance Tech Spec 1


C90-R 300 and LHH examination light

Optical control



Concentrates light over central area


Concentrates light in the central area

Option B – Accessible

Option B - Accessible

Some ceiling systems are sealed for hygiene purposes so that they can be easily cleaned. The C62-R LED is IP54 (from below) and has been designed for this type of ceiling. There are three optics available, a double prismatic, an opal and a softlight.

The treatment tables are fitted with a different examination light than in Option A. The Circus has a magnifying lens surrounded by a circular illuminated frame. This provides a soft shadow free light.

We have positioned a 360 rotating local light over the desk area.



C62-R LED sealed panel

Optical control



Regular array over whole area


Sealed for cleaning the ceiling

Option C – Sterile

Option C - Sterile

When you need a sterile luminaire, the recessed C60-S is the solution. It can be surface or recessed mounted and it is rated at IP65.

There is a choice of a 4mm hardened glass cover or a 5mm clear or opal acrylic lens that is screwed to the front frame. The glass version has a low glare louvre, type SU, to reduce glare.

They have been positioned on the ceiling away from the patient’s view and, in this situation, we would recommend the opal version.

We have again used the Circus examination light.




Optical control

Clear, opal or louvred


Almost continuous lines, as shown


For super sterile areas