Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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24 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM What if I told you about a simple strategy that would make team members feel more alert, improve their attitude and attendance, and help them achieve higher goals? It also would help clients feel more relaxed and, most importantly, reduce patient stress. When implemented during a hospital's construction or renovation, it would cost very little and save money over the building's lifetime. What is this magic? It's natural light. By Paul Gladysz, AIA, NCARB, CSI, ICC Multiple studies have proven the health and mental well-being benefits of sunlight. Of course, uncontrolled sunlight can be harsh and stress an air conditioning sys- tem, so the trick is in knowing how and where to use natural light. How Light Affects Health A previous article of mine — "Make Your Hospital a Comfort Zone," December 2017/January 2018 — discussed the concept of healthful spaces. Intuitively, we sense when a space makes us feel better or worse. Have you ever seen rows of office cubicles lit by flickering, yellowish fluorescent fixtures? Sure, the layout is an inexpensive way to pack in more workers, but what of their productivity? What of their absenteeism and mental health? If your goal is, as it should be, to cre- ate a workplace that enhances your life and those of your staff, clients and patients, then a more thought- ful approach is needed. Evidence-based design is the idea that the benefits of design choices can be measured by comparing outcomes. Research into human health care has found that a patient exposed to a pleasing ex- terior view, including green space, and who maintains a natural night- day circadian rhythm will recover faster than one closed off from the outside world. "ICU psychosis" is real, and solid evidence exists that animals react in a similar way. When used in ICUs and wards, natural light will reinforce the natu- ral sleep-wake cycle. Morning light has a higher energy blue-white cast, so it triggers the brain into higher A skylight grid introduces natural daylight to multiple workstations. LED strip fixtures were installed to produce indirect uplighting. Task exam lights are present at each treatment station. awareness. Normal daytime light has a more neutral color. Evening light has warmer tones, tending toward the red end of the spectrum and triggering melatonin production. If you are interested in creating a healthful space, you must consider the patient, client and staff because one plays off the other. Veterinary patients can be anxious and even fearful of a clinic. Why? We often say it's because they pick up on other fearful animals. Surprisingly, it might be because of their owners. A study published in 2017 in Animal Cognition — http://bit. ly/2wvkKWw — established a link between the stress of a person and that of dogs through chemosignals alone. Add to that a dog's well- documented ability to read facial expressions and body language See the light The smart use of natural illumination supports the health and happiness of patients, employees and clients. Artificial light has its place, too, but you should be selective.

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