Independent Guide to Care in North Wales

Human-Centric LED Lighting

Dementia is a growing problem for the NHS as the condition becomes more apparent due to the UK's aging population. While it is an upsetting, difficult and uncomfortable condition, unique to each patient, certain similarities in the physical signs in dementia-related disease have been noted. The biggest problem with managing dementia sufferers is the patient's marked proneness to their sleep-wake cycles falling out of sync with other bodily rhythms, which leads to tendencies of patients falling asleep in the day and suffering increased wakefulness during the night hours. Some patients are reported to spend as much as 40% of the night awake, creating an increased risk of falls and injury... and not being a very pleasant experience either.

Clinical research has shown that light can help correct the rest/activity cycles of dementia patients - with new technology from the lighting industry hoping to achieve this with dimmable LED strip lights which can be adjustable from 3000 - 6500K at the touch of a button. Most dementia sufferers benefit from much brighter than usual lighting to counteract the loss of visual acuity that occurs as part of the aging process. Furthermore, Bright light therapy has shown to yield a variety of benefits: improved night time sleep, increased daytime wakefulness, reduced evening agitation and better rest/activity patterns overall for a happier life to the patient – the end aim of any care provider.

There are numerous other ways that LED Lighting can be utilised by care providers to help patients, from better emulation of natural light to task lighting applications. A little bit of creativity and some LED Rope lights can be used to create visual displays around task stations that are both visually interesting and attractive. Furthermore, night lighting has proved in recent years to be less effective than originally thought – patients are far more likely to trip, fall and do themselves serious harm under an insufficient wall-based night light more designed for children in mind than anyone else. Outlining a door and a path (eg to the bathroom) with a dimmable LED fixture is both safer and more effective than trusting in a dim nightlight that can cause uneven lighting patterns and shadows – which in turn can cause agitation and distress.

The care providing industry is beginning to take notice of LED fixtures and their myriad advantage to patient health and wellbeing, both psychological and physical. The industry is rapidly changing to account for what we know about dementia constantly being expanded upon, and LED technology has proved itself capable of providing a meaningful solution to improve quality of life to the estimated 46.8 million people living with dementia today.

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