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Legacy Toolkits (updated on 28/07/16)

Beautiful and functional legacy toolkits for clinicians to help engage patients and their loved ones in legacy-making activities.

Photo of anna Magnowska
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

The idea is designed for patients and their loved ones to begin conversations around legacy and explore how this might be realised in both digital and analogue forms. Legacy-making can reduce physical symptoms, increase a sense of self-worth and help people come to terms with dying, whilst improving communication with loved ones and enhancing connections with care-givers. A legacy tool-kit can be the spark that ignites and captures a thousand stories.

I have recently returned from a six week research trip to the USA and Canada, funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, looking into legacy projects for end of life. My research has shown that legacy projects can benefit all involved, including clinicians or facilitators who take part in legacy-making activities with people nearing end of life and their loved ones. There is still much more research to be done on legacy projects, however I believe that by designing a beautiful and practical legacy toolkit, both digital and physically, could be a first step to introducing people to the concept of legacy-making as part of a greater conversation around death and dying. Legacy-making can reduce physical symptoms, increase a sense of self-worth and help people come to terms with dying, whilst improving communication with loved ones and enhancing connections with care-givers. Legacy projects can take on many forms, and I believe each individual should find the form best suited to them - the legacy toolkit can help guide them in the right direction for them, be it an app to send messages after they have died, a scrap book to collect images and words, a video or audio recording, or the opportunity to take part in a much bigger community project. The toolkit would hopefully be a way to introduce groups, organisations and individuals in local communities to each other who perhaps wanted to collaborate on legacy projects - for example art students, writers, oral historians, youth groups (updated 28.07.16) The legacy toolkit would enable clinicians or people working with those near end of life to navigate which project may suit them best, and help them to carry out a project if this is what they wish. There would also be the option to carry out self initiated projects which may simply be introduced through the toolkit but not necessarily facilitated by a clinician. This would open the possibility of a public version of the toolkit being designed where it could be accessed online (updated on 10/07/2016) The toolkit would be evidence-based, and could be part of a research project into the benefits of legacy-making at end of life. 

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I am currently completing a report into my findings and will recommend that a toolkit is piloted in my local area to find out if this works as a method for introducing legacy-making into palliative care. I work as a palliative care nurse in the community, so have the ideal placement to trial this idea.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I would need guidance on the design of the toolkit in making it beautiful, intuitive, functional and of course digital as well as physical. I am an illustrator as well as a nurse so I have an interest in design, however I realise I will need input from those who have expertise in layout, design, IT and accessibility.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a palliative care clinical nurse specialist who is also an illustrator and founder of, which is an online magazine dedicated to exploring the connections between medicine, humanity, design, culture and technology.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Prianjali Kapur

This is a wonderful idea! It could very engaging for those close to the end of their lives & a lovely way for them to find back the memories/connections they may have lost. There's nothing my grandpa likes more than telling us stories about the good ol' days!
It made me think, it would be lovely to perhaps pair the elderly with aspiring writers to perhaps even help them write out memoirs/biographies which could help them re-connect not only with their care-givers & families but also old friends, associates, places? It would also leave behind a wonderful piece of history, their stories, even advice for their loved ones. 

Photo of anna Magnowska

That's a great idea - thanks very much! 

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of OpenIDEO

Welcome to the Refinement phase Anna! Here are some key questions and milestones we encourage from all ideas in the Refinement phase:

1. How might this idea address the unique needs of the target audience you're designing for?
2. Clearly summarize the value offering of your idea in 1-2 sentences
3. Communicate your idea in a visual way with user experience maps
4. Identify assumptions that need to be answered in order to validate your value offering:
5. Collect feedback from potential partners and users to answer the assumptions you’ve identified.

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 07/12" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of Camila

I LOVE this idea. I have witnessed the death of several people close to my heart and this exercise would have been beautiful as a child going through the upcoming and certain death of a loved one. Maybe there could be a component for children? 

Photo of anna Magnowska

Thanks so much for your comment. It would be wonderful to design a toolkit for children eventually. 

Photo of Manuel Pardo

I like this approach, legacy seems to be a powerful tool to improve the experience of the end-of-life. However, why to make it happen with clinicians, implying it is right before the end. I consider it is an important activity for the family as a whole. 

Photo of anna Magnowska

Thank you for your comment. The idea behind the toolkit is to guide clinicians with initiating legacy conversations. I am a clinical nurse specialist who works with people living with life-limiting conditions and legacy is sadly not discussed as often as it should be. My aim is to measure the impact of legacy work as part of the palliative care service we provide, so in this instance there would need to be clinician involvement on some level, however I also hope to design a toolkit that is in the public domain and therefore open for anyone to use at any time in the future.