As an interior designer, I am very passionate about the impact an environment has in our sense making process. A space can generate implicit conversations that develop our insights in which we understand, interpret and respond to our present situations.
With this in mind, I propose that its not about trying to replicate a homely environment in our hospitals, or trying to replicate the idealism of dying in our sleep, but strengthening our mindfulness through our environments. We need to create environments that correctly convey what is happening and what could be.
I suppose with death we all feel a lack of control over our lives, but if our environments strengthen our ability to respond better instead of striving for a sense of anaesthetic, we can make our own decisions of what is and what could be. Which would generate a sense of empowerment and will both of the patient and their family to continue in whichever way they like. To be comfortable with the future and prepared for change.
We must consider, the whole user experience.. a further involvement where possible in the treatment plans rather than being given unknown medications, better lighting to create a sense of privacy and intimacy, unique elements that create a sense of place within a room; a small kitchen to allow the ability to participate in cooking or smelling dinner being cooked, a communal dinning to encourage conversation of people in similar situations, large windows to create a connection with the world around.