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Students collaborate with London hospice to 're-style' the experience of death

Discoveries made by spending 8 months investigating the experience of death and dying are human and revealing–I've highlighted them for you.

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What constitutes a good death? This is the question posed by a pioneering project set up to redesign the end-of-life experience, based at the Royal Trinity Hospice in Clapham, south London.

Read a few of my takeaways below, and the full article here.

From an enjoyment perspective, students explored catering options that better suited patient needs. "When a person is very sick, they aren't able to eat normal food comfortably," says Chang.

"So we looked at ways to make meals that were nutritious, enjoyable and tasty, but in an easy-to-eat jelly-like form. Changes that seem small can make a big difference to a patient's experience and happiness.”

"The biggest shocker for me was the significance of distraction," Jones says.

"We couldn't figure out why patients were constantly gathering around a television to watch game shows. By talking to them, we discovered that the distraction it offered was the source of its appeal. When we realised this, we began exploring options for other forms of distraction and interaction.”

"Natural daylight, space and greenery – those are clear ways forward for designing spaces such as hospitals and hospices," she says.

"Studies have shown that those things have a major impact on recovery times, result in reduced pain perception, and even cause patients to think that the food is better and the nurses and doctors are nicer."

These design factors are often overlooked by the sector because of constraints in terms of budget and practicality. "There are the architectural demands of the bureaucracy to consider: ducts, cables and machinery that must be fitted into the design and kept in certain temperatures and conditions," Killing says. "It can be difficult to strike a balance between the different needs of an institution.”

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

I can't wait to see how some of the students' findings are built into ideas in this challenge. Refer to this article often for inspiration as you create your own solutions!


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