The challenges society faces in providing future healthcare suggests significant rethinking of the way health services are delivered and the way we engage with them. There is recognition that this is likely to demand more self-care and the shift of care from hospital to home. This collection of objects explores implications of this shift in both the culture and practice of health interventions.
Funded by: NIHR CLARHC Yorkshire & Humber Art & Design Research Centre Partnered with The Waag Society, Amsterdam; Gallerie UM, Prague
Project Lead: Paul Chamberlain
The home and hospital bring together very different cultural practices and environments, and the inexorable geographical shift in care has potential to impact on our physical and emotional relationship with our home space.
While professional care support within the home may be beneficial to the informal carer and care recipient, they also transgress the social space of the home and challenge its symbolic.
“The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests”. Charles Eames
If we are to assume a greater uptake of healthcare at home to relieve pressures on current systems of delivery, we must not simply develop solutions and focus research within the narrow boundaries of healthcare. Solutions will only be successful if they fit with the complexity of our lives. Therefore there is value in taking everyday experiences as a starting point. This research draws on the value of thinking with things through physical metaphors, engaging people in meaningful ways to elicit their understanding.
Theatrum Anatomicum, WAAG Society, Amsterdam
“The things we use and make (technologies) are not neutral objects but embodiments of ourselves and cultural values. Where a disconnect between the technology and these cultural values emerge this impacts on the individuals relationship with the world”.
The HOSPITAbLe collection reflects upon and imagines an ambiguous future domestic landscape that presents hybrid functionality and a confused visual language and soundscape. A transient world of semi-alien and alien objects that not only challenge trust, but prohibit control and access. New objects defined by emerging technologies that at times attempt to hide and camouflage. The definers and providers of these future objects being ever more concerned with our health and safety, nudging us into behavioural change but fearful of litigation. An interconnected landscape within which access to health data and information is ubiquitous, incomplete and confusing. Objects that help, support, betray and confront our own mortality
“The invasion of illness- related technology into the home has the potential to destroy the nurturing and therapeutic environment of home as a means of promoting health recovery.”
The HOSPITAbLe Collection was exhibited in 2017 at The historic Anatomical Theatre at the Waag Society, Amsterdam, the UMPRUM Gallery Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague, and the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. In 2018 the collection was exhibited at the Yorkshire Artspace Gallery, Sheffield and at the NIHR Health Services Research UK conference, Nottingham.
This project aimed to improve the quality and design of bathroom furniture for older people with the goal of producing products which all bathroom users find acceptable as well as meeting the specific needs of older and disabled people.
Funded by: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Ideal Standard
Partners: British Council, Vitra and Istanbul Technical University
Project team: Paul Chamberlain, Heath Reed, Maria Burton and Andy Stanton
The need for user engagement in the design process is particularly acute when the target user group has specific requirements which may not be fully appreciated by designers. The focus of this research, designing to support older disabled living is one such problem. The specific domain of interest, that of the bathroom, provides a number of challenges to user-centred design methodology because of the highly personal, sensitive and intimate nature of the activities that take place there.
“I don’t wash my hair in the shower because when I close my eyes I feel unsafe. I wash it in the sink after my shower.”
“I never thought I would have trouble getting out of the bath but I do.”
“Things have changed since we moved here – as you get older, things change a lot.”
Female, 63, with arthritis.
The aim of this project was firstly, to develop a robust methodology for fostering co-design dialogue between designers, researchers and people (aged 50+) with chronic age related health conditions which lead to disability and frailty. Examples include arthritis, osteoporosis, stroke and macular degeneration.
Secondly, it aimed to develop a range of innovative and desirable bathroom concepts that are sensitive to the problems of living with disability, which do not stigmatize, are capable of manufacture and will demonstrate the principles we have developed.
The three-year project, funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, involved end users, predominantly older users, and Ideal Standard, one of the largest global manufacturers of bathroom products.
Creative approaches were adopted to prompt discussion on bathroom behaviour, often considered taboo, such as the recruitment of older ‘community lay researchers’ who visited older people in the community and the implementation of public field labs.
In addition, quantitative data was collected (via motion capture, high speed cameras and thin film force sensors) through observational studies undertaken in a simulated bathroom environment.
The research evolved to explore further the cultural behaviour of bathroom use through a further project ‘loo-lab’ which was funded by the British Council in collaboration with Istanbul Technical University, industry partner Vitra and older people living in Turkey. The project featured in the Foundation for Assistive Technology, Annual Parliamentary Report UK.
A bathroom design guide for users, ‘If only I knew then what I know now’ (endorsed by Age UK) was published from the findings.
The Lab4Living researchers on this project were Heath Reed, Maria Burton and Andy Stanton.
“If you are interested in designing your bathroom to better suit your needs as you grow older, then this will be a useful guide. We always welcome advice based on sound evidence produced by expert researchers, as we have in this leaflet.“
– Professor James Goodwin, Head of Research, Age UK, 2011.
Included in NIHR Dissemination Centre Review
Future Bathroom is included in the recent NIHR Dissemination Centre Themed Review ‘Help at Home‘ (December 2018, doi: 10.3310/themedreview-03345)
Most Innovative Design
Outcomes of the project were awarded ‘Most Innovative Design’ in 2017 by the Over 50s Housing Association, UK.
The Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) produce an annual parliamentary report about R&D in Assistive Technology (AT). Included in the 2009-10 report and 2011-12 report.
This work was included in the 2009 EPSRC Pioneers exhibition at Olympia, where it was praised for its innovative research methodology and its focus on the training of older people as community researchers. The Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) produce an annual parliamentary report about R&D in Assistive Technology (AT). Included in the 2009-10 report and 2011-12 report.
Related research on Sheffield Hallam University’s Research Archive