The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Designing for Patient Dignity

For the last months our team (Slider Studio, Azhar Architects and manufacturer Grant Westfield) has been involved in the programme "Design for Patient Dignity" - the Department of Health asked the Design Council to bring designers, manufacturers and frontline NHS staff together to see if they could come up with new ideas that would help the NHS improve hospital environments and the experiences of patients.

Our brief
Design a more dignifying toileting and washing experience in hospital.

Using the toilet and bathroom in hospital poses a particular set of problems and potential embarrassments for many patients, and is often cited as a key argument in the case for same-sex accommodation. If facilities are difficult to access or use, it can make patients feel that their dignity is compromised.

During various hospital visits we found that toilets and bathrooms in hospitals are extremely stressful places, contributing to an undignified experience. To name some of the problems: no mirror above the basin, but instead a visually cluttered space with various soaps, towels, bings etc, no place to put your personal things. Slider Studio developed a Mirror in parallel with ongoing research into ambient assisted living technologies while Azhar focused on prefabricated washrooms. 

In short, the Smart Mirror reorganises the washbasin space in hospital bathrooms and toilets into one prefabricated product that can be retrofitted. It has a large mirror to bring domestic familiarity to the hospital environment, slimline wall- hung storage, integrated lighting, a shaver socket, a waste bin and a grab rail that can also function as a towel hanger. Storage for soap, conditioner and paper towels is integrated and an electronic indicator tells cleaning staff what needs refilling. The exhibited prototype marks our first step of the journey.

Capsule Washroom and Smart Mirror from Design Council on Vimeo.

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