Better, brighter lighting to improve patient safety

January 31, 2018

Well-lit spaces in hospitals and long-term care facilities help providers deliver optimal patient care.

Modern lighting systems can be customized to deliver the right amount of light to suit how any given space is used. For example, an operating theatre needs plenty of bright light, while a waiting room requires something softer.

A complete lighting makeover at three health facilities

In the past couple of years, modern lighting systems have been installed in three Saskatchewan healthcare facilities. Not only do the systems help save energy and money, they also help to enhance patient safety.

Employees at each of the three facilities worked with WESCO, a lighting systems provider to the Saskatchewan health system, to replace their ageing systems. Together, they came up with customized solutions for each of the facilities to meet their unique clinical needs.

St. Mary’s Villa


Take St. Mary’s Villa, a long-term care facility in Humboldt. The home had constrained lighting and electrical resources. One person was constantly changing ballasts and doing other replacement work in the facility. The individual was also responsible for servicing a number of other health facilities throughout the region. Staff at St. Mary’s felt they needed a better and more modern lighting system to make better use of their resources.

Hoping to cut back on maintenance, the energy manager at St. Mary’s investigated new lighting technology and system options. Two WESCO specialists ended up visiting the facility and worked with the energy manager to design a customized lighting solution.

Lots of retrofit work was required – much more than just changing lightbulbs – but in the end, WESCO and St. Mary’s staff agreed upon a new lighting system tailored to meet the specific needs of the facility. Since switching from their previous lighting system, which was outdated and expensive to operate, the care home is saving a significant amount of energy (300,000-kilowatt hours). They are also saving money ($27,000 annually). The facility has also reduced its carbon footprint by 209 metric tons, which is equivalent to having 41 fewer cars on the road.

Victoria Hospital

At Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, WESCO worked with facility staff to change out approximately 4,000 fluorescent lighting tubes throughout the facility. This came about after hospital staff determined they needed a better, more efficient lighting system for providers and patients. The new solution will save the hospital an estimated $312,509 over seven years.

Michael Grozell and the rest of the Wesco staff were very helpful,” said Jacques Renaud, Director of Urban Maintenance Services in Prince Albert. “Michael kept us abreast of discounts offered by SaskPower so we could take full advantage of cost savings.”

Renaud added, “Our LED tube replacement initiative was executed smoothly, with WESCO delivering products in a timely fashion.”

The lighting system upgrade also extended to the facility’s parking lot.

“Michael came on site with a lighting supplier to audit our parking lot lighting, and made recommendations as to the type of fixtures and where to start. We received positive feedback from our staff with the parking lot changes made.”

Wynyard Hospital

Then there’s the hospital in Wynyard. Recently, staff there worked with WESCO to change out 100 lamps and fixtures (in the emergency department, waiting rooms, hallways, and more). This will save the hospital approximately $109,000 in energy and labour. It will also reduce their carbon footprint by 30 metric tons (equivalent to six fewer cars on the road).

Better lighting systems help

The planet…

Cleaner, more responsible lighting choices use less energy than traditional methods (50 per cent or more in wattage reduction) while delivering the same level of brightness.

The pocketbook…

Mercury-free, LED solutions, like those offered by WESCO, help save money too, requiring less maintenance over time. These savings can be redirected to other areas.

And above all, the providers who care for patients

Sufficient ambient lighting also creates a calmer, more welcoming environment for patients and providers. Most importantly, the right lighting solutions help promote health and wellness of employees and the patients they care for. Proper lighting can speed patient recovery time and help reduce anxiety.

“Gases in old fluorescent tubes flicker, even though this isn’t always apparent,” said WESCO representative Michael Grozell. “For many people, this flicker causes headaches and eyestrain. Lighting that is too bright can also increase stress, while lighting that is too dim can stimulate hormones that lead to fatigue, sadness and depression. Lighting systems can be designed not to be too bright or too dim while eliminating the flickering.”

Grozell and fellow WESCO lighting specialist, Meghan Stoll, visited each facility, analyzed the situation on the ground, and designed the appropriate solution in light of each facility’s unique clinical needs.

“It’s all about better, safer lighting for providers and patients,” said Grozell.


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