THE CARE SECTOR MUST FACE THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM HEAD ON...
There is a vast sliding scale to the quality of living space we provide for residents within elderly care in the UK. Take a close look at care homes and hospitals built more than 10 years ago, the standard of the built environment is poor at best. The quality of lighting is largely unsuitable, often designed with limited natural light and with very little availability to access outside space.
Poor design, decoration and lighting are a major factor in creating the “elephant in the room”. Seldom discussed, depression in elderly care is a plague blighting the health sector. Mental health and emotional well-being are as important in older age as at any other time of life, so surely this topic should be more widely discussed and given greater priority.
“Depression is the most common mental health problem of later life, affecting 10-20 per cent of older people (National Institute for Mental Health in England 2005) (12) and up to 40 per cent of care home residents.“
When elderly people enter the care system why do they become more depressed? We must do more to improve the living environments of the elderly to help address this issue.
Older adults with depressive symptoms have poorer functioning compared to those with chronic medical conditions such as lung disease, hypertension or diabetes.
Depression is both under diagnosed and under treated in primary care settings. Symptoms of depression in older adults are often overlooked and untreated because they coincide with other problems encountered by older adults.
Without resolving some of the root courses of depression, we may well be increasing the reliance on drugs used to correct symptoms. This in-turn has an impact on staffing levels, the cost of providing care spirals out of control, seemingly making it more difficult to fund changes to the built environment. This viscous circle has to be broken if care homes truly want to make impactful change to the care they provide.
Dynamic human centric lighting has the power to address the care crisis. Photonstar's Chromawhite™ lighting system is revolutionizing the care sector by providing biologically optimised light. In the daytime, the system delivers stimulating light which triggers the body to produce the hormones required for concentration, focus, alertness and physical performance. At night, the system reduces the stimulus it delivers to prepare residents for sleep, enabling them to retain a deep restful sleep whilst providing a safe background night light.
Photonstar LED has installed the Chromawhite™ lighting system within a number of high profile healthcare applications in both the private and public sectors. We are fast becoming the sleep provider for the health sector.