The beneficial effects of LED simulated daylight in a healing environment puts a lot of time and effort in research to increase their insights in the possibilities and added value of their products. The abundance of scientific proof on the positive effects of light, contact with nature and positive distractions in a care environment. Are proof they are working in a very exciting field. However the amount of research into the positive effects of LED lighting are scarce.

In the following article we will describe the effects of LED panels, in cohesion with social developments and in the context of a healing environment.

The Impact of Social Developments

With the rise of Western medicine, with all it’s technical ingenuity and effective medication, we started to change the way we design care environments. More focused on the medical process and less from the perspective of the users. Under the watchful eye of the ‘Bouwcollege’, The Netherlands had started to create a healthcare environment which saw more and more uniform buildings.

These buildings were designed according to the ‘Building Regulatory’; offer targeted, strictly adhering to the available budget. Many of these buildings are in need of replacement these days. Thinking of replacing everyone of these with new developments is not very realistic.

Several social and political developments have caused a change in the entir healthcare sector, substantively as well as orginazationally;

  • the introduction of “regulated market forces”  & the start of a crisis
  • responsibility for health and welfare shifts to the individual and it’s network
  • choice conscious, (partially) wealthy careconsumers
  • paradigmshift – focus alters from sickness to health and well-being

The cliënt becomes the center of attention and will (and a greater portion of) pay their own bill. Healthcare providers will be challenged to differentiate themselves, with competing, demand oriented services and accomodation. The ZVW, AWBZ en WMO will be stripped down, which creates more space voor market forces and commercial providers.

The Rise of the Healing Environment

The design and experience of the healthcare environment plays an important role in the healing process. This care experience is defining for the image of the care provider. Accomodation is so clearly pivotal, a discrepency between quality of care and the look & feel of the accomodation, can nullify the entire healthcare experience.

A ‘healing environment’ improves the well-being of the patient, by reducing or preventing negative stress and providing positive distractions.15 This holds up for care users, care givers but visitors as well. A healing environment supports the required processes and behaviors, while simultaneously reducing waste and errors to a minimum. Een helende zorgomgeving ondersteunt de gewenste processen en gedragingen, zodat verspilling en fouten tot een minimum beperkt worden. (14) Op deze manier heeft de omgeving directe invloed op het zorgproces, de zorgvraag en zorgkosten. (4, 13, 14, 15)

The importance of light & nature

Natural elements, like light, are essential in a healing environment, sufficient daylight and regular exposure to nature have positive effects1,3,4,14. Research shows dat daylight has a direct effect on our biorhythm, our mood, our perception and cognitive levels5,9,15,16. People recuperate faster and feel better in rooms where they are able to look outside. Prefferably a view on nature, trees, a park or the sky at least13,14. Even the caregivers experience less stress in a similar environment; they are prone to make less errors and are overall more positive about their work and their employer8,14,17.­­

The influence of LED panels

Even with relatively small adjustments, it’s possible to create large beneficial effects. In most healthcare facilities there will be areas that have little or no acces to daylight. A simple solution to creating a healthcare environment with sufficient daylight is the implementation of ultra-thin LED panels. LED panels are specifically designed for suspended ceilings and can be mounted on walls as well. These LED panels come with custom photographs varying from life-like summer skies to amazing landscapes. Different photographs and colorschemes can achieve different effects. LED units have a light output of at least 1600 lux, last for over 50.000 hours and have a colortemperature that is 6500K, which mimics the look of natural daylight. Uniform and equal light distribution across the LED panel is possible through the use of edge-lit technology. The combination of LED lighting and images make these panels not onyl a source of lighting but of positive distraction for patients2,3,4 as well.

Research & Practice

Effects & Results

LED panels can be used to create positive distractions, that have a calming affect in an indoor environment2,12,17. Natural light and photographs of nature add a warm and inviting atmosphere to a room2,17. Daylight has a positive effect on our biorhythm and mood9,11,16. Research that measured physiological parameters (i.e. cortisol levels, blood pressure) didn’t show evidence of measurable differences12. The TTU (Texas Tech University) is doing research into the influence of so called ‘cloud ceilings’ or images of nature. First results indicate that looking at a combination of LED lighting and photography of nature can induce similar positive effects in people as a real outdoor environment. This can explain why patients suffer less from stress & claustrophobia in MRI rooms with LED panels10.

Conclusion & Discussion

To properly establish the effects of LED panels in combination with photography, we need a lot more scientific research. However, the qualitative information gathered from experiments offers enough evidence to integrate LED solutions in the interior design of healthcare institutions. Even in literature we can find substantial evidence to support the further development of LED panel technology and it’s effects within the healthcare environment.

Some examples;

  • Establish a varied light plan with a mix of natural daylight and work lights8,12,17.
  • Size and placement of LED panels will influence their effect and the overall experience12,17.
  • LED panels should only be a part of the solution to create positive distractions2,12.
  • Add audio, moving images or use interactive elements to improve effects12,17.
  • Use images of nature for maximum positive effects3,4,14. designs and manufactures LED lighting for almost any type of ceiling and wall. LED panels are a unique combination of LED lighting and high resolution photography. Our unique LED lighting simulates daylight and the combination with special photographs have the ability to completely transform a room. Whether it’s a blue summer sky, landscapes or imitating a view through a window, the options are endless. Variations of our LED panels are very popular in the U.S.A. The last couple of years we have managed to impress the healthcare industry of the Benelux with our LED lighting and it’s positive effects. LED panels are a welcome addition tot the already existing lighting possibilities. LED panels are a sustainable way to add extra light and positive distractions to an existing healthcare environment. Please contact us here, if you would like to create your own healing environment. We will offer professional advice and we can supply custom designs as well. For more information about our products, go here.

Een artikel in opdracht van

Author: Tamar Roelofs, Doctor – Designer


  1. 1. Conchar, Joann, 2012 ‘Nature nurtures- two hospitals in very different settings rely on similar strategies to create environments for healing’, Architectural Record, august 2012
  2. 2. Corcoran, S., 2006 ‘A view to the future of healthcare – natural healing environments’,
  3. sponsored profile for TESS (Therapeutic Environmental Solutions), HHE 2005/2006
  4. 3. Corcoran, S., 2007 ‘The art of nature and the nature of art’, Healthcare Design Magazine
  5. 4. Huelat, Barbara J., 2008 ‘The wisdom of biophilia – nature in healing environments’,
  6. Journal of Green Building, vol. 3, no. 3, p. 1-13
  7. 5. Joseph, A. PhD, 2006 ‘The impact of light on outcomes in healthcare settings’,
  8. Center for Health Design
  9. 6. Nanda, U., Eisen, S., Zadeh, R.S., & Owen, D., 2011 ‘The effect of visual art on patient anxiety and agitation in a mental health facility and implications for the business case’
  10. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, vol.18, p. 386-393
  11. 7. Pollock, R., McNair, D., McGuire, B., & Cunningham, C. 2008 ‘Designing lighting for people with dementia’, Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling
  12. 8. RSG Health Services, 2010 ‘Helping radiology patients relax’
  13. 9. Starremans, S., 2011 ‘Helder verlichte ruimtes zijn een steuntje in de rug voor ouderen’
  14. interview met Prof. E. van Someren, TvV jaargang 43, nr. 7/8
  15. 10. Sky Factory & TTU, 2012 ‘Neuroscience study points to unique effects of photographic sky compositions’, Sky Factory eNews, november 2012
  16. 11. Stegeman, I., 2005 ‘Verlichting van dementie’,
  17. afstudeerscriptie Toegepaste Communicatiewetenschap, Universiteit Twente
  18. 12. Suter, E., Armitage, G.D., Baylin, D., 2010 ‘Impact of SkyCeilings on immobilized patients during lengthy procedures’, research funded by Alberta Health Services
  19. 13. Ulrich, R., Zimring, C., Quan, X., Joseph, A., Choudhary, R., 2004 ‘The role of the physical environment in the hospital of the 21st century; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’,
  20. Center for Health Design
  21. 14. Ulrich, R., Zimring, C., Zhu, X., DuBose, J., Seo, H., Choi, X., 2008 ‘a review of research literature on evidence based healthcare design’, HERD, vol. 1, no. 3
  22. 15. Van den Berg, A.E., 2005 ‘Health impacts of healing environments’,
  23. part of ‘Architecture of hospitals’, organized by “Foundation 200 years University Hospital Groningen”
  24. 16. Van Someren, E.J., Riemersma-van der Lek, R.F., 2007 ‘Live to the rhythm, slave to the rhythm’, Sleep medicine reviews; 2007 Dec;11(6):465-84.
  25. 17. Witherspoon, B., Petrick, M., 2005 ‘Scientific research and sky image ceilings’
  26. research funded by Sky Factory, LC
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