How Geisinger Does Patient Bathrooms

July 24, 2017

How Geisinger Does Patient Bathrooms

Recently I had the privilege of talking with a few of the ladies on the design staff for the Geisinger Health System.  Like so many hospitals trying to improve patient scores measured through the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, they are continuously renovating and improving their patient rooms one wing at a time.

Finishes, furniture, equipment and casework are all necessary updates that are prioritized when upgrading a healthcare space. Sadly, lighting is a key aspect that most people forget or leave out of the process. “Research has shown that patients’ perception of cleanliness can be improved with lighting, décor choices and furniture selection.” (HPOE Guide) If a room appears clean and updated, the last thing you want the patient to see when they are laying down is an old and glaring light fixture. Lighting should be integrated into design and performance of the patient room. At Geisinger, they understand the importance of lighting in healthcare and will be updating 132 patient rooms with Visa Lighting fixtures throughout this next year.

Along with the patient room comes the very important patient bathroom. The bathroom is where we relax with a warm shower, find personal time to de-stress and start a fresh new day. In a hospital environment, the bathroom can too often feel more institutional than welcoming and homey. This is unfortunate because replacing vanity fixtures during an upgrade makes the patient room bathroom feel more sterile and comforting, while also increasing the performance, cleanability, aesthetics, and often cutting back on electricity.

Vanity fixtures should be sealed (protection from dust) with easily cleanable surfaces to keep the environment infection free. They should also encompass wet-listed housing to function with moisture and put out high enough light levels for the patient to see clearly. Recently, Geisinger has proposed using Visa Lighting’s Shine fixtures for their patient bathroom renovations. This LED fixture is sleek and contemporary with high lumens per watt and requires low maintenance. And because of the custom capabilities, a shorter 23” housing will be created to fit above the mirrors in narrower bathroom spaces.

Designers are seeing different trends on the horizon for patient room bathrooms. A few of their insights include:

  • Warmer home-like color temperatures when permitted (with neutral 3500K being a standard)

  • Adequate light levels for the aging eye (including 90 CRI)

  • Edge lighting or built-in back lighting (so surface cleanability is not an issue)

  • LED rather than fluorescent (to save energy, time and space)

  • Use of damp and wet-listed fixtures as roman bathrooms with centered drains and no shower doors to block water

  • Amber nightlights integrated into fixtures, walls, hand rails and even toilets

  • More control and dimming capabilities

  • And above all, pleasing to the eye

A special thanks to Nina Ciarla, Christine Stamets, Theresa Schmidt, and the Geisinger Design Team.