Windows of hope

Intensive care unit (ICU) is one of the most demanding places and a leading cause of financial burden as it requires high use of resources and expenditure.

Confined to a single bed in a single setting filled with noises of ventilator alarms, smells of the antiseptic, pain of intravenous lines, ICU-induced myopathies and hallucinations make life tough. What makes all this even more depressing is the lack of natural light in an ICU which leads to delirium and depression.

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What may work as a blessing for patients in an ICU is a window, which may allow natural light to shine through the glass into the room. By promoting daytime wakeup and nightly sleep, natural light from a window can help maintain or restore circadian rhythms.

I have often observed that whenever my patients get extubated, what makes them happy and comfortable the most is the idea of regaining mobilisation and the first thing they want to do is to sit by a window. Subsequently, they spend some time with their families in the outdoors, feeling the sunlight, the breeze, and the visible greenery that together reduce their stress level, and give them the hope that a return to their happy, healthy lives is a possibility.

That is why I call every window in the hospital a ‘window of hope’ which reassures the patients that there is still light despite all the apparent darkness.



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