Liège (Belgium) – In conjunction with the University of Liège and Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI), the ISoSL (Intercommunale de Soins Spécialisés de Liège) is launching a project that is unique in the world: research into the effect of variations in lighting level in the living environment, as part of treatment for dementia patients.
The research consists of two parts: one part focuses on the patients, the other evaluates the impact on the medical personnel. The initial results are expected to be available at the end of 2012.
Dedicated leading-edge technology
Dementia is a progressive condition for which there is currently no cure¹. Exclusively medicative treatments only have a limited effect, and the scientific community is unanimously calling for alternative care strategies to be developed that focus on the patient's quality of life, amongst other things by improving their living environment. The research being carried out by the Cliniques de soins spécialisés Valdor-Pèrî ('Valdor-Pèrî clinic for specialist care') and the University of Liège ties in with this.
The issue is so complex that a specialist approach had to be adopted. Advanced lighting technology had to be used which could also be customized: a double requirement which Philips Lighting was able to fulfill by supplying a solution for ‘controlled and modulated light’. The technology, which was developed especially for the research in the Le Pèrî hospital, comprises three systems which correspond to three zones in the psychogeriatric department. These three systems were programmed by the research team to suit the requirements of the research.
From daylight cycle to circadian rhythm
The main lighting system has been installed in the rooms, the corridors and the communal areas. At specific times of the day, which have been set by the research team, the light intensity in the corridor can be as much as 1500 lux, whereas a standard lighting installation in a hospital produces, on average, 350 lux.
In order to analyze the potential healing effect of daylight on the patients' circadian rhythm, Philips Lighting had to integrate various elements into its lighting system. The HealWell lighting concept from Philips (which produces light that varies gradually over the course of the day) was supplemented with various aspects that affect the light intensity, such as the wattage of the fixtures, the tone of light, the arrangement and the orientation of the fixtures. Lastly, the quantity of light was programmed in accordance with the time of day in order to reflect the natural cycle and to take into account the main points in a patient's day in hospital (waking, meal times, therapeutic activities…).
The variations in light intensity are shown in the graph below by means of two curves:
- in purple, the curve applied in the rooms for the patients,
- in blue, the curve applied in the rooms for the personnel².