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Hospitality Not Hospitals

Translating insights from hospitality into healthcare has the potential to improve the end-of-life experience.

Photo of Justin Sanders
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Notably absent from the institutions that share the same root word, is a discussion about meaning and impact of hospitality.  It's as if we know that hospitals are so antithetical to the experience of hospitality that we can't bring ourselves to link the two. Despite it's philosophy, hospice is not much better.  Hospitality connotes pleasure, restfulness and relaxation; hospitals and hospices share a wholly different meaning. And there is room to think about how the latter can benefit from an active discussion about how and why the former works.  After all, hospitality precedes both, but seems to inform neither. Opening a dialogue through ideo has the potential to bring together people from hospitals and hospitality to reimagine the experience of living well to the very end.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Imagine the feeling of entering a five-star hotel. Imagine the sites, and the scents, and the feeling that you are immediately being cared for in ways that you haven't even anticipated. Now imagine the experience of being ill, afraid of what happens next. Imagine the healing power of a care experience informed not by diagnosis and prognosis, but by design and positive presence.

Tell us about your work experience:

I'm a palliative care physician and the son of a hotelier. A former waiter, fine art consultant and traveler, my life experiences shape my vision of healthcare as a service industry.

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Photo of James Takayesu

So pithy, so perfect.  Thank you.