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Insufficient Lighting in Nursing Homes

      Objectives

      The objective of this study was to measure the level of lighting in nursing homes in a variety of areas to determine its adequacy in meeting the visual needs of elderly residents.

      Design

      Observational study

      Participants

      Eight nursing homes cooperating in an intervention study designed to prevent accidental falls.

      Measurements

      The amount of light was measured in eight nursing homes with a lux meter DVM 1300 Velleman. The intensity of light was measured at four moments: a sunny day, a cloudy day, while dusk was falling, and while it was dark. At each moment, the amount of light was measured in 16 different places frequently used by residents. The European Standard for light and lighting of indoor work places (EN 12464-1:2002) was used for reference. Because aged persons require more light than persons twenty years of age, the European Standard was adapted by increasing it 55%. Results were compared to both the European Standard (ES) and the Adapted Standard (AS).

      Results

      On a sunny day, the amount of light met the ES in 5 of the 8 nursing homes and met the AS in 1 of the 8 nursing homes in at least 8 of 16 places. On a cloudy day, the amount of light met the ES in 2 of the 8 nursing homes in at least 8 of 16 places, and no nursing home met the AS in at least 8 of 16 places. According to the AS, the amount of light was insufficient at both other moments in all institutions.

      Conclusion

      The amount of light in the nursing homes was seldom sufficient to meet the visual needs of older people. This lack of illumination may induce a higher risk of accidental falls for dementia patients as well as for other residents.

      Keywords

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