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Open Door Hospice

Open up hospices to creative short term volunteering opportunities, and invite patients into the present moment.

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

My idea is designed for hospice patients and volunteers. I was moved by the thought of “sensuous aesthetic gratification where in a moment, in an instant, we are rewarded just for being,” and used this as my jumping off point.

It seems that a number of hospices currently require considerable time commitments for volunteers to get involved. I’m curious what would happen if hospice doors felt more open and inviting to the public, if we each had the opportunity to get involved at a younger age, if hospices weren’t an invite-only possibly-scary place to visit but rather a place we’ve become familiar with throughout our lives.

When reading through the ideas of various nurses and palliative caregivers, the present moment emerged as a theme. What can we offer to continuously invite patients into the present moment? To connect with the senses, with people, with the world? I imagine there is not one single access point to the present moment that everyone would enjoy equally. To me it’s yoga and breath, to others it’s the sound of the ocean in a seashell, or the feeling of a snowball melting in your hands.

These thoughts led me to wonder what if hospices were opened up to short term volunteering opportunities via partnerships with local schools, companies, groups, and individuals? Where once a year visits include: a young classroom singing choir songs, a college acting troupe doing a dramatic poetry reading, a furniture design student collaborating with a patient to build a bench for the hospice. I believe in the creativity of groups and individuals and hope by inviting more people into hospice walls we can help shift our own understanding and perception of end of life experiences, provide our unique services to the unique individuals in hospice care, and encourage patients and volunteers alike to embrace the present.

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

I can reach out to a local hospice to learn what events and services may be most beneficial to patients that could be offered by skilled volunteers, and attempt to coordinate that service.

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

Arranging meetings with palliative caregivers, hospice volunteers, hospital physicians, and nurses, as well as visiting hospices, nursing centers, and hospitals would be the most useful in determining whether or not this idea has legs.

Tell us about your work experience:

Background in Art & Design, Photography, Computer Science. Currently a User Experience Designer.

This idea emerged from

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Photo of Ken Rosenfeld
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I love the concept, Christina.  As I read it, the concept of incorporating EOL education into school curricula also came to mind.  It'd be great to be able to marry these two ideas . . .

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