Nurses at Central Gippsland Health will trial state of the art bright light therapy glasses designed to help combat the demands of working a busy night shift.
The trial is part of the Wellington Primary Care Partnership’s Working Well in Wellington project which aims to develop and trial a number of strategies to improve the mental wellbeing of shift workers.
Wellington Primary Care Partnership Executive Officer, Angie Collins, said the use of the Re-Timer glasses is part of an exciting new strategy that is aimed to help nurses who work shift work to regulate their sleep patterns.
“Developed by Professor Leon Lack from his extensive research at Adelaide’s Flinders University, the glasses shine glowing green-blue wavelength light into the eye of the wearer to beneficially re-time the body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin production as well as increase alertness in the critical early morning hours of the shift when cognitive ability tends to drop off the most,” said Ms Collins.
“We are hoping that the glasses will help to delay sleep time in preparation for night shift, help the nurses to improve their ability to cope with fatigue associated with working shift work, improve the quality of sleep during daylight hours and wake up earlier on days off. Research has indicated that good sleep is an important part of maintaining mental health and wellbeing. Professor Lack himself is interested in the trial and will be providing input to help us”.
The Re-Timer glasses were recently used by the Socceroos team as part of their World Cup campaign. Some players wore the glasses on long distance flights to help them to recover from jet lag and be in peak condition when arriving at games.
Older technologies required the person to sit in front of a light box for an extended period of time. “This is not very practical for a busy nurse who needs to be able to continue with their personal and professional activities,” said Ms Collins.
“The glasses can be worn at any time, except when driving, and each nurse will be given a personalised timetable that matches their roster to give them optimum results. The glasses only need to be worn for a maximum of one hour per day.” said Ms Collins.
The Working Well in Wellington Project is supported by WorkSafe’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund.
Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy said the trial was a fantastic example of the practical ways in which recipients of funds from Victoria’s WorkSafe WorkWell initiative were able to support workers whose jobs made them more susceptible to mental health challenges.
“We know that getting a good sleep can play a large role in maintaining mental health, but for shift workers this can be difficult.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is proud to support this trial and is looking forward to seeing the results of it and many others to come.”
Central Gippsland Health Chief Executive Officer, Frank Evans, said that CGH was pleased to be part of this project and is very keen to see the results of the trial. “We understand that shift work is both physically and mentally demanding,” Dr Evans said. “We hope that the use of the glasses will enable our staff to be in the best possible mental and physical health.”
So, next time you are at Central Gippsland Health and see a nurse with these space-age looking glasses, you can be sure that they will be alert and ready to provide you with great care.
For more information, contact Linda Hunt 0488 411 021 or at Linda.Hunt@cghs.com.au.