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A care home for people with advanced dementia is giving some control back to elderly patients thanks to KNX intelligent building protocol provided by Electrak, a member of KNK UK. At Shadon House, a nursing home for elderly people with advanced dementia run by Gateshead Council, a refurbishment offered an ideal opportunity to build energy efficiency into the design of the electrical services.   pdfDownload Case Study PDF

Case Study A Patient Approach picMany of the residents are disoriented and have difficulty with, for example, locating the bathroom in the night or even identifying the light switch in their room. For some residents, the ideal solution would be to leave a light on in their room every night, but in addition to wasting electricity this would be a completely impractical way to address the problem as it would disturb other residents.


Instead it was decided to install a lighting control system that would ensure that lights came on when and where they were needed. Interface with other patient care and security services was also important so that the lighting control system could be integrated with other services to enhance the level of patient care and overall safety.


Buscom, a busbar hybrid from Electrak (part of the Legrand Group) was installed throughout the loft space. It was developed to meet the need for pre-fabrication and flexibility with overhead power and control distribution systems. As well as providing power it also provides signal bus distribution by means of its integral twisted pair communications control circuit. This solution combines with the Lightrak lighting control system, which was used to control all the lights throughout the corridors, residents’ rooms, communal areas and staff areas.


As the system uses the KNX Open protocol, the control system can be integrated seamlessly with any other KNX building control product, which meant that the lighting controls could complement other patient care systems. Movement detectors in all residents’ rooms ensure that the lights come on automatically in the en-suite bathrooms if the patient gets out of bed during the night and the system also controls the extractor fan in the bathroom.  


In the communal lounges, the installation of scene setting switches has allowed energy savings whilst external lights are controlled with both a light sensor and a timer. This combination of lighting controls ensures that the exterior lights come on automatically when it goes dark but are switched off automatically too at the same time every night. In the corridors, a night light setting not only saves energy but prevents residents from being disturbed by the light.

The interface between the KNX Lighting control system and the nurse call system at Shadon House means that appropriate lighting is automatically switched on when the nurse call alarm is activated. The interface with the fire alarm system has also been designed to enhance patient safety without disturbing any residents who are not affected.