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Health

Cincinnati Children's Has Installed A Light That Mimics The Sun In Its New NICU. It Hopes It Helps Kids Heal Faster

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Cincinnati Children's
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The hospital is able to adjust the spectrum to mimic the sun which can help in healing.

The $1 million lighting system is now a reality in the Children’s Critical Care Building, which will open in November. A virtual ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Monday.

We know the sun has healing properties, as WVXU reported in February, 2020. In that story, Cincinnati Children’s Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Developmental Biologist Dr. Richard Lang was excited the hospital had agreed to install a new lighting system that would mimic the sun in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The $1 million lighting system is now a reality in the Children’s Critical Care Building, which will open in November. A virtual ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Monday.

Lang and his colleague Dr. Jim Greenberg say research shows this lighting will improve health.

“I thought it was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to incorporate this kind of lighting into this building,” says Greenberg. “And that’s what we set out to do. So, there’s nothing like it in the world as far as we know. And it will allow us to identify the best ways to deliver circadian lighting and spectrally tuned lighting for our patients and understand how it can best benefit them.”

During a tour of the $600 million building Friday, Greenberg explained there are wavelengths in what's called visible violet - a color you can actually see on the color spectrum - that are “super important for certain biological processes.” He says there are no commercial lighting systems that generate the violet light except for this one.

How Will Researchers Program The Light Spectrum?

A spectrometer is on the roof of another Children’s building, and it is measuring the spectrum of daylight in Cincinnati. An engineer who used to work for NASA and designed the lighting system for the International Space Station will use that information to design the hospital’s light engine and sophisticated software.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
A spectrometer on the roof of a Children's building is measuring the spectrum of daylight in Cincinnati and will use that information to design the sophisticated software.

One Part Of An Expansion

The 632,500-square foot facility expands and enhances services. The eight-story building has 249 private rooms which are 50% bigger than current ones.

Family support space including a laundry room, business center, consult rooms and family lounge is right off the lobby.

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Ann Thompson
Patients and their families can look in the portals to see the kaleidoscope and part of it was left uncovered to explain how it works.

A kaleidoscope is on every floor with portals. The hospital worked with a kaleidoscope artist from Seattle to design it.

Four gardens are part of the Critical Care Building, including a rooftop one, one for families and another for staff.

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Ann Thompson
Near one of the entrances to the Critical Care Building