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Dear Selene,

I am so grateful you took the time to share your experiences; and offer such powerful affirmation for our proposal. More tangibly than anything else, it demonstrates that people who are tasked with creating optimal spaces for patients nearing death need this resource, which will allow them to tap into the collective wisdom of others who have faced this challenge.

The fact that you are able to use the feedback we received to inform the design of your hospice, and that you would be willing to share your insights within a global design repository, says LOUDLY this project is needed and viable!

Warm regard


Hello Selene,

Thank you for contacting me. I recall a series of meetings we held with bereaved family members, asking them to share their insights as to hospices should be designed. The information we collected was extraordinary; including reflections on the size a bed should be ("big enough for two people to sleep or cuddle together"), room furnishings ("chairs that recline into comfortable beds to accommodate family to sleep over"); doors that can be shut 'silently' without disturbing anyone's sleep; and the list, touching on every single facet of how these spaces should be designed to best meet the needs of patients and families, goes on and on.

This was part of our inspiration for this project. People thinking about these issues and contemplating these spaces can collectively raise the design bar worldwide. This will help ensure that terminally ill patients - accompanied by those they love - can live out their final months, weeks and days in a setting that will best accommodate all of their needs.

That is our vision. It is one we think many, just like your group in Southern Oregon, will be drawn to.

Kind regards,


Harvey Max Chochinov MD PhD FRSC
Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba
Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care
Director, Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit

As we work through our idea, a few more questions have come up that we hope you might respond to:

1. If we understand correctly, we are to get you our refinements within the next two weeks. Can you give us a sense of what the process will look like after that. Will there be other refinement phases? What will the time time frame be in terms of OpenIDEO landing on a particular project or projects?

2. Should there be further refinement/development phases ahead, will OpenIDEO be able to provide some development resources to help us move this project along. We believe that this is a BIG idea, which could help inform the design of living spaces intended for people as they approach death. This project, which aspires for international reach, implicates architects, interior designers, landscape architects, occupational design; healthcare providers, healthcare administrators and planners; patients and families; and the way in which they can inform, retrieve and utilize information pertaining to spaces - including hospices, palliative care units or other healthcare settings - where patients are expected to die. To realize this extraordinary vision, development resources will be needed.

3. Clarification regarding the nature of partnership would be helpful. Can we be assured that there will continue to be a substantive role for our team here in Winnipeg? We understand that this process is very organic. That said, we feel invested this initiative, and hope to maintain an active hand in shaping and - in partnership with others - seeing it come to fruition.

4. What is the format for the submission of the User Experience Map, 'Determine What to Prototype', Feedback, and 'Start Prototyping' ?"

We look forward to your responses.

Harvey, Shelly and George