Over the last few years, Henry County Hospital in Indiana, which services patients from a four-county region, was experiencing a growing need for expanded wound care services because of the diabetes epidemic as well as the aging population. In 2011, the hospital responded to this need by relocating and expanding its Advanced Wound Center.  Providing patients care for difficult wounds that are not healing and offering hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the new state-of-the-art center features extended hours and an expanded level of treatment.

When planning this renovation, Hospital Electrician Paul Wallace says lighting was a key consideration. According to Wallace, three primary objectives were established when specifying the ambient and hyperbaric chamber lighting in the new Advanced Wound Center.  First, the facility needed to find another light source besides fluorescents for the hyperbaric chamber.  Second, it needed lighting that was dimmable to ensure patients remain comfortable while receiving therapy in the hyperbaric chamber. Third, decreasing energy use, reducing maintenance, and being more environmentally conscious were top concerns.

Other factors were also considered in the lighting selection process. "There are health risks associated with fluorescent lighting in hyperbaric chambers,” says Stephanie Taylor, director of the Advanced Wound Center. "For some patients, fluorescent lighting can cause seizures, making it necessary for us to find an alternative."

In addition, because patients spend about 2 hours per day in the hyperbaric chamber — sometimes receiving treatment for up to 60 days — having dimmable lighting as a convenience for patients wanting to sleep or watch television was essential, notes Taylor.

Because LEDs respond well to dimming and offer tremendous energy efficiencies, the hospital began researching options for a digital lighting system. However, this wasn't the first time it had looked into LEDs. "We researched LED lighting about three years ago, but we didn't find any fixtures that met our needs," explains Wallace. "This was mostly because the color of the LEDs was harsh, and we didn't like the look of the fixtures. However, the technology and fixture aesthetics have advanced immensely over the past few years."

Steve Vorhees from Kirby Risk Electrical Supply, Muncie, Inc., and John Edwards from LightSOURCE, Indianapolis, presented Henry County Hospital with an LED lighting solution from Lithonia Lighting, an Acuity Brands company, that met all of its goals. "The VTLED by Lithonia delivers high quality volumetric lighting and full-range dimming (0V to 10V) as standard features," explains Edwards. "Additionally, it provides a plug-and-play dimming functionality that allows end-users to easily connect fixtures together, reducing installation time and expenses."

The hospital installed VTLED fixtures throughout the Advanced Wound Center, including exam rooms, dressing rooms, nurse station, and the hyperbaric oxygen suite. Sensor Switch controls were installed in the hyperbaric chamber. In addition to the product's dimmability, Wallace likes the fact that the fixtures looked similar to the facility's current fixtures, ensuring there wasn't a dramatic difference aesthetically. Another benefit, says Wallace, is the reduced maintenance required because LED lighting and controls last longer and require less service. "This allows our facility staff to focus on more important aspects of running the hospital," says Wallace. 

The new lighting and controls were also well received by the Advanced Wound Center staff and patients. "The LED lighting and controls have worked extremely well in our department because it gives us more control of the lighting intensity," says Taylor. "The hyperbaric chamber suite has the lighting split into two sections — one for each chamber. The lighting system allows us to dim the lights on one side and leave them up on the other side according to the patient's preference. This gives us a lot of control and flexibility."