Design for Patient Dignity

Client: Design Council Kirton Healthcare NHS

Sector: Healthcare

Commission: 2009

Launch: 2010

Following the success of PearsonLloyd’s proposals for Design Bugs Out, the studio teamed up with product design company Kirton Healthcare to pitch for the NHS and Design Council’s Design for Patient Dignity initiative. The team won the commission, and was asked to look at where dignity was compromised in the remit of transfer and mobility.

+ More

PearsonLloyd established four reasons why patients might experience loss of dignity: a lack of privacy, self-control, comfort and communication. Rather than focus on one product, the studio proposed a collection of products that can be used across the hospital, to improve the experience of patients: a poncho, bay screen and a day chair.

PearsonLloyd’s poncho tackles the unintentional body exposure suffered by patients: the standard gown covers only the front half of the body, leaving the back of the patient’s body exposed. The poncho reduces this indignity, providing adequate coverage for the whole body. It is easy to put on and get off – even in a hospital chair – and the lack of sleeves enables easy administration of treatment from drips. Its construction is very simple, making the product cheap to produce.

The Bay Screen is a simple screening product intended to replace the current curtain or partition system for separating patients in wards. Partitions present two problems: patients feel shut off from medical staff when the curtains are closed, and when they are open they are exposed to other sick patients, and their privacy is compromised. PearsonLloyd’s bay screen is angled from the side-walls so patients can communicate and have contact with passing staff, besides having a sense of enclosed personal space – the screens are 1500mm high, shutting off surrounding patients. Another advantage is that the angle of the screens enables staff to push patients on a chair or bed, into the space with greater ease. Patients can also be orientated to face towards the wall if they would rather.

The Day Chair is a hybrid between a chair and a bed. The studio’s research found that patients are often too ill to use a chair – slumping forward or slipping out of it – or not ill enough to use a bed. The hybrid Day Chair rotates from a traditional chair posture into a reclined or forward tilt position. As such, the patient is stabilised, reducing the need for more expensive and immobile hospital beds.