NICU simulation lab and lighting – part 3

November 12, 2015

NICU simulation lab and lighting - part 3

 - Lauren Roberts

In our last post we focused on how light glare and artwork can make a big difference when designing healthcare environments. In Part 3 of our NICU Stimulation Lab series, we will go over how examination and task lighting, as well as cleanability

Examination and Task Lighting:
In an NICU setting, equipment that reaches over 200 foot candles should be used for examination. As we’ve discussed, the use of indirect light or diffused light for issues with glare, is a must. The equipment used behind the incubator in the NICU simulation lab has integrated uplight just for that reason. And what about headwall equipment that is smartly designed to include that type of lighting? Well that’s just a win-win.
Next to the bed side, the nurses and staff must be able to use 1-60 foot-candles for task and minimal exam. Instant room darkening for transillumination should be available.
Surrounding nurses stations should also have adequate task lighting. In the NICU simulation lab we’ve provided a vanity light for over the sink and counter area that not only gives off enough task light but can also be switched to an Amber LED when needed. Amber LEDs give off a warmer light at night allowing nurses to check on the infants without turning on a white, bright light.

All surfaces in a healthcare setting should be easily cleanable when possible with special attention paid to surfaces in contact with people or movable equipment. Surfaces should be free of substances known to be teratogenic, mutagenic, carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to human health. Eliminating edges where dust collection may occur or the ability to reach surfaces should also be considered.
The NICU simulation lab lighting was designed with clean flat surfaces and anti-microbial finishes where feasible allowing and to promote cleanability. Hospital acquired infections are the leading cause of infant deaths in the NICU. As designers, it is our responsibility to aid in the cleanability of our patient room designs. Attention to finish, fixture and equipment selection is a must. As a standard, Visa Lighting’s overbed patient room fixtures come with anti-microbial finishes and is an option for other fixtures in the patient room.

The simulation lab, currently located in the Nexxspan Healthcare space in Atlanta, has become a great feature and tool for learning. As lighting designers and representatives, we have a duty to pay close attention to NICU design, lighting and our actions. We need to take responsibility and continue to develop true healing environments that promote health and wellbeing for all ages.

Along with Tammy Thompson, President of the Institute, we created the presentation; “NICU Lighting: Supporting Health, Comfort and Well-being for Newborns, Family and Staff through Lighting Design”. As a Visa Lighting representative, I am able to share this information with designers, end users and agents. As a webinar and a traveling accredited lecture this presentation allows designers to learn about the critical needs of neonates and how their developing eyes need special and considerate lighting. Please ask your local Visa sales rep for more information or to schedule.

For more information on the design model and webinars offered by the PCD Institute, please visit:

For NICU Lighting, design, guidelines and resources please visit: (Visa>Resources>Healthcare)