The Prince Charles Hospital

    Brisbane, Australia

    Photo Credits: The Prince Charles Hospital Critical Care Research Group

    Creating the ICU of the Future

    The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) is the leading cardiothoracic hospital in Australia and provides specialized care for over 420,000 people per year. It has a strong focus on research, education, and innovation.


    The TPCH Critical Care Research Group (CCRG), is a world leader in the field of critical care research and biomedical engineering, with a focus on developing ground-breaking novel technologies, all with the goal of improving outcomes for the critically ill. It is Australia’s largest multi-disciplinary critical care research facility, and consists of more than eighty leading clinicians, engineers, scientists, economists, and support staff connected to all major international cardiothoracic hospitals. They are involved with and lead multiple large local, national, and international research studies.


    The ‘ICU of the Future’ is one of these projects. Investigating the common and ongoing physical, cognitive, and psychological complications that patients commonly experience after leaving the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the project team (supported by The Common Good, and initiative of The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation) realized that traditional ICU designs, focusing on clinical efficiencies, contribute to these preventable adverse patient outcomes. The ICU of the Future project is therefore focusing on ensuring that ICUs are designed around the needs of the patient, including their need for a quiet and optimized healing environment, allowing them to get sufficient rest and sleep while in ICU, be comfortable, and remain connected to their families through innovative technologies. The goal is to improve short- and long-term patient outcomes by overcoming the environmental challenges in the ICU that negatively impact patient recovery, while optimizing clinical efficiencies.


    As part of the new ICU design, the project team sought a lighting solution that could provide a more peaceful environment for patients. As there were no windows in the bedspaces, the lighting solution had to assist patients maintain their circadian rhythm (and therefore assist them sleep better at night), provide a comfortable nocturnal environment (while allowing staff to perform essential clinical duties), offer easily controllable settings and user interfaces, and be delivered as an all-in-one solution for easy on-site deployment.


    A comprehensive, multi-brand solution from Signify, including Color Kinetics, was selected to meet the complex requirements of the project. Color Kinetics Luminous Textile LED lighting panels were selected for their unique distraction therapy capabilities, including the ability to display calming video imagery, day and night scenes, and provide sound absorption to minimize the profound impact that the excessive noise levels commonly experienced in ICU has on patients. The panels were mounted on the ceiling in each room directly over the bed and are controlled with an on-board Luminous Textile controller integrated with a Philips Dynalite System through Philips Dynalite PDEG.


    Also included in the Signify lighting solution are Philips UniBar RGBWW fixtures, DMX controlled to provide an extra layer of night scene and perimeter lighting, creating a comforting environment; Philips RC190V tunable white panels to support patients’ circadian rhythm in conjunction with Philips Dynalite Dali controllers. The end-to-end lighting system is controlled by, and seamlessly integrated with, Philips Dynalite controls, integration devices, and a user interface.


    Completed in December 2022 and going live in January 2023, the innovative project was implemented in two rooms of the TPCH ICU - a first of its kind worldwide. The TPCH CCRG and QUT (Queensland University of Technology) will assess the light quality of this project and conduct extensive testing on site to ensure all the parameters have been implemented correctly to maximize patient benefits. The next step of the project will involve continuous sharing and examination of the data collected over the coming years about the performance of the project, the lighting solution, and most importantly their impact on patients, family, and staff.


    In keeping with Signify’s Brighter Lives, Better World sustainability initiative, the ICU of the Future project helps provide better care for people in need while improving the work environment for staff.

    Project credits

    Lighting Designer:

    Signify Australia



    Conrad Gargett


    Electrical Engineer:



    Signify Australia


    Electrical Contractor:

    RDZ Electrical Matland Group



    Matland Group


    Building Project Management:

    Lendlease Australia and Matland Group

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