Two luminaires from Visa Lighting have been accepted by the New York State Office of Mental Health (NYS-OMH) and published in the latest edition of “Patient Safety Standards, Materials and Systems Guidelines.”
“The NYS-OMH sets high standards for the testing and selection of products and design strategies,” says Laurie Emery, healthcare market development manager at Visa Lighting. “These products are engineered to accommodate spaces for patients dealing with serious mental health illnesses.”
Behavioral health environments treat patients that may present a higher level of safety and security risks, including ligature, suicide, and self-harm. Luminaires in patient areas must be tamper-resistant, ligature-resistant, and impact-resistant so that they do not present a ligature or weapon opportunity when damaged or combined with other objects.
In addition, as treatment philosophy has shifted from symptom control to evidence-based care, current standards for behavioral health facility design (including the NYS-OMH guidelines) consider aesthetics alongside safety concerns. With this mindset, a patient’s recovery is more about personal wellbeing than correction and isolation. Product design plays a role in that.
NYS-OMH, in association with the architecture firm architecture+, publishes these guidelines to recommend products for behavioral health facilities owned and operated by the state. “Although the focus was for New Yorkers, their product safety standards are referred to by designers for consideration on behavioral health projects throughout the U.S.,” says Emery.
All products listed in these guidelines have been tested for patient safety in conformance with OMH testing protocols. NYS-OMH does not endorse particular products or manufacturers, and emphasizes that a facility has an obligation to thoroughly assess their own needs and risks. “For a manufacturer’s products to be listed, they must go through NYS-OMH testing,” says Emery. “If the products pass, they are noted as ‘Accepted’ in the publication.”
One product published in the August edition of the guide is Gig, a ligature-resistant, impact-resistant personal task light designed to fit a bedroom. It has ¼-inch thick polycarbonate lens, cast aluminum housing, and tamper-resistant hardware. When specified with a high abuse mounting bracket, Gig has an IK10+ impact rating. These elements combined ensure that patients are not able to damage the luminaire or combine it with other items to create harmful edges, weapons, or ligature anchor points.
Gig is also available with touch dimming controls. This means a patient can control the level of light by touching the body of the luminaire. Touch dimming allows the patient to feel a sense of control over their environment, while also eliminating the need for a ligature-resistant light switch in the patient room or communal area where Gig is installed.
Also published in OMH’s August guide is the Serenity 2×2 ceiling luminaire, model number CM1922. Serenity features illumination from the outer frame diffuser and decorative pattern options for its middle panel, as well as an amber night light option. The lens and frame is made of 1/8-inch thick clear polycarbonate and secured with tamper resistant fasteners.
The next edition of the guide will feature two additional products from Visa Lighting, the Serenity 2×4 model and Sole; a collection of illuminated mirrors for behavioral health patient bathrooms. Sole is constructed with mirrored impact-resistant polycarbonate and is ETL wet-listed, IP65 rated, and rated IK10+. In behavioral health applications, this means Sole cannot shatter or malfunction from being hit. This mirror is unique in its design. Behavioral health spaces have never had a mirror that is both safe for high risk areas and visually appealing for low risk areas. All this earned Sole a Nightingale Silver award in 2017.
These products will be on display at Healthcare Design Magazine’s upcoming conference and tradeshow in Phoenix, on Nov. 10-13, alongside other healthcare lighting products from Visa Lighting. HCD Expo this year is putting a focus on behavioral health design, with several seminars and presentations surrounding key issues and new ideas for behavioral health applications.
Serenity, Gig, and Sole are just the beginning for Visa Lighting. It will continue to develop new products that answer the call for patient-centered lighting design. To make this happen, they will seek guidance and ideas from behavioral health specifiers, caregivers, and authoritative leaders like the NYS-OMH and architecture+. Check out its current lighting for behavioral health spaces here.