Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology


Viewing Facility Refurbishment Including LED Coloured Lighting 

Noble’s Hospital Isle of Man 
Viewing Facility Refurbishment Including LED Coloured Lighting 

A report from Ian Hughes FAAPT

My 10 year anniversary working at Noble’s Mortuary Department was in May 2015 and to mark the occasion I decided to apply for funds to completely refurbish and upgrade the viewing facility.  This refurbishment was completed in December 2015 and included totally redecorating the facility and replacing the carpets.  Successful application for Gift Funds purchased new furniture which included 2 settees, a number of bucket seats, a couple of coffee tables, two artificial plants, some canvases and a water-cooler.

As we know it can be an extremely distressing experience for bereaved relatives to visit the mortuary family rooms.  We try to ensure that the patients appear as peaceful as possible and until recently this has been partly achieved by dimming the wall lights.  However, although this practice is carried out is almost every mortuary I have working in, it is not ideal as we are trying make the families experience slightly more bearable by making the room darker and the patient more obscure.  

This gave rise to the initial idea of having a variable colour Par-can type light which could be directed towards the patients face.  Controlling the lamp would be done by either a wall panel or wireless mixer.  The only extra coloured lighting I have experienced previously was a ‘Mortuary Bulb’ some 16 years ago when I worked in Bristol.  This was a 110v ‘old style light bulb’ with a red/purple coating which when lit gave a warm light over the patient.  Unfortunately these are not available anymore and we are now faced with white LED or energy savers both of which are far from ideal.  

Whilst undertaking some research I found a short blog on a Good Funeral Guide website, which shared a similar concern.  The idea was that if the correct type of lamps and control were available we should theoretically be able to combine colours that would counteract some appearances such as hypostasis, jaundice and pallor.  I contacted a gentleman I know from a local lighting company for advice as I know he has vast experience with theatre and stage lighting.  

A suitable style lamp was decided on and our Estates Services installed a demo unit into the ceiling.  It soon became very apparent that even though the remote control we were using was very basic the lamps would make a huge improvement.  

Following further advice regarding minimising shadows I requested six lamps to be installed in the main room for adults and older children and four in the middle room we use for younger children and babies.  The most cost effective and suitable lighting control was by using an iPad app which connects to a lighting controller in the ceiling.  This gives us the ability to adjust the colour intensity within the rooms and then remove the iPad to the office.  The discovery of a website listing lighting colour mixes for use in theatres etc. has been extremely valuable.  We are gaining more experience of mixing the colour and very subtle inputs can have a huge difference to the patients appearance.  

Main items used in the installation are:

Cuetybox Lighting Controller (& iPad app): 


I am in a very fortunate position in that the Management and Trustees here are incredibly supportive of this type of service improvement.  The cost of the system is very reasonable when considering the benefits and can be installed by a competent Estates Electrician.

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