Design teams work on patient dignity projects

Pearson Lloyd and fashion designer Ben de Lisi are among those working on developing new products and systems to improve dignity for patients in hospitals as part of a programme from the Design Council and the Department of Health.

Six teams of designers, architects and manufacturers have been appointed to respond to a series of briefs in the Design for Patient Dignity scheme. They are being paid a minimum of £25 000 to develop and prototype the designs.

Two teams – Avanti Architects with Panaloc Worldwide Manufacturing, and Together Creative Collaboration with furniture designer Anthony Dickens Studio and manufacturer Suck UK – are designing new ward layouts which effectively separate male and female patients.

Fashion designer de Lisi is working with clothing manufacturer Silver Reed to create new patient garments to improve dignity. Azhar Architects is working with consultancy Slider Studio – which develops design tools – and washroom manufacturer Grant Westfield to create a more dignified toilet and washroom experience.

Pearson Lloyd is working with specialist seating manufacturer Kirton Healthcare to develop ways of improving the physical and emotional security of patients when they are being transferred within hospitals. The team’s commode, created for the earlier Design Council programme Design Bugs Out, has been nominated in the 2010 Brit Insurance Designs of the Year awards. Built environment design consultancy Billings Jackson is working with architect Nightingale Associates and metal ceilings manufacturer SAS International to develop innovative ways to support single-sex accommodation in response to an open brief. The Design for Patient Dignity scheme is part of the DoH’s programme to deliver single-sex accommodation in hospitals.

Specialists in design from the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre have also been recruited to the programme and will be developing their own solutions to each brief. The design teams are working with patients, experts, hospital staff and others to develop prototypes due to be unveiled in March. The aim is for the designs to be introduced into hospitals by early 2011.

David Kester, chief executive of the Design Council, says, ‘Greater privacy and dignity are among patients’ biggest concerns when they enter hospital. By bringing designers, manufacturers, patients and experts together, we are helping transform the hospital experience for millions.’

Design for Patient Dignity so far

  • The project launched in October 2009, when designers were invited to respond to a series of briefs
  • An advisory board has been appointed to select designs, led by Jane Priestman, former director of architecture and design with British Airways. The board also features Virgin Atlantic head of design Joe Ferry, former British Airways head of design Neal Stone, and services engineer professor Max Fordham
  • The programme is being run along similar lines to Design Bugs Out, prototypes for which launched in April 2009, and will be entering hospitals this year

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