Circadian Lighting, Healthcare

Circadian lights at Derbyshire care home ‘cut number of falls’

An elderly care home resident with a smiling care worker
The spectrum-controlled lights at the 60-bed Heanor Park led to a ‘significant reduction in the amount of falls a care home would usually experience’ with only two residents experiencing falls within the first three months of opening.

AN INSTALLATION of circadian lighting at a care home in Derbyshire, UK, has reduced the number of falls experienced by its elderly residents, it has been revealed. 

The spectrum-controlled lights at the 60-bed Heanor Park care home led to a ‘significant reduction in the amount of falls a care home would usually experience’ with only two residents experiencing falls within the first three months of opening. 

In addition, as the lighting helps to entrain residents circadian rhythms, employees noted the residents are showing a greater level or engagement.

‘They appear to feel more active and alert at the right times of day and then as the lighting changes to mimic natural daylight throughout the day, by night time residents feel ready for bed and are getting a better nights sleep’, the lighting’s supplier amBX reported. 

As a result  employees are able to encourage more of a routine for residents making night shifts in particular much easier as residents are sleeping, and their body clocks are synced correctly. 

After around 4pm the algorithm shifts towards an evening colour blend setting which is more equivalent to CCT of 3000K and then later in the evening it will move into the night-time setting at the warm end of the spectrum with reduced intensity levels.

For staff working in these conditions they have commented how surprisingly they don’t feel tired, are still able to carry out tasks and feel alert as the circadian lighting is not installed in the staff room and office. 

For employees working dayshift the circadian lighting is also entraining their circadian rhythm, meaning they also get a better night’s sleep. 

The brief from the home’s owner, Ashmere Care, was to support human circadian cycles and therefore improve sleep patterns as well as the comfort and general wellbeing of residents through lighting.

At Heanor Park, thecare beds are split over five ‘households’ offering general elderly residential care, specialist elderly dementia care and five luxury suites.

The core of the system is an amBX Circadian Plus spectrum-controlled lighting which provides complete control of the colour spectrum of visible daylight light through multiple colour channels in each luminaire. This enables precise delivery of the right colour mix at the right time of day for human circadian cycles.

Managing director David Poxton concurred: ‘We’re seeing a greater level of engagement from the residents during the day because the lighting is helping their body clock become alert and ready for the day.

Over 400 colour-spectrum lights have been installed at Heanor Park in all the bedrooms, corridors, common areas and bathrooms to ensure that residents benefit from the circadian lighting to the maximum extent. 

An amBX SmartCore system manages every light and each colour setting according to parameters provided by amBX’s Circadian Lighting adviser Lorraine Calcott, IEng MILP IALD (CLD) MSLL. 

The algorithm is designed to run 24 hours a day and is suitable for elderly residents with little or no ability to get outdoors, so with minimal exposure to natural daylight. 

Starting in the morning with the highest light levels and a target of around 750 lux or greater, depending on individual designs, the strongest circadian activating light content is delivered within the space between 7am and 10am by precise spectral control and broadly equivalent to a CCT range of 6000K to 8000K. 

The colour mix is blended to taper the blue content component towards the afternoon and then faded out whilst maintaining as close as possible to a white light in the region of 3000K.  

The intensity would then drop to around 600 lux.   

After around 4pm the algorithm shifts towards an evening colour blend setting which is more equivalent to CCT of 3000K and then later in the evening it will move into the night-time setting at the warm end of the spectrum with reduced intensity levels.

Individual rooms can be adjusted to accommodate specific requirements for intensity levels or other needs and the system responds to staff intervention needs by immediately switching to full brightness when activated via a nurse-call system or switch.

A range of lighting fixture designs and types was developed by amBX partner Swann Lighting to combine blending with the design aesthetic for the home as well as effective delivery of the spectrum-controlled light.

‘This is the future’, said Michelle Baker, deputy manger of Heanor Park. ‘I think it has revolutionised the care home’.

Managing director David Poxton concurred: ‘We’re seeing a greater level of engagement from the residents during the day because the lighting is helping their body clock become alert and ready for the day…we’re not seeing people falling asleep in their chair or not wanting to engage in activities.

’We’re incredibly proud of how this project has turned out and the end result that we’re seeing at Heanor Park. 

‘Really for us seeing what can be achieved, it is absolutely something that we would put in the refurbishment of our existing care homes and also any new projects that we have going forward’.