What brings a social designer to a nursing home?

During Dutch Design Week, the Embassy of Health showed how people from the healthcare sector collaborate with designers on innovative projects. The talk Chronisch Gezond (Chronically Healthy) focussed on new forms of connection between people with and without a chronic disorder.

Type Topic
Date 20 November 2020
What brings a social designer to a nursing home?

A physical meeting was not possible because of the corona measures, but online via Zoom an intimate and meaningful conversation took place about the benefits of looking at projects in the health sector from a design perspective.

Chronisch Gezond is a project that was initiated last year by the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie and Agis Innovatiefonds, explains Annemarie Kuiper, director of the latter. “We have launched an open call for parties to work together on new products or spatial interventions for people with a chronic disorder on the basis of design, care and welfare. Six projects were selected and started in April.”

Of course, the corona crisis has also affected the content and implementation of these projects. Jetske van Oosten of the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie, who moderated the talk: “The situation in recent months has confronted us with the vulnerability of our bodies and the vulnerability of our healthcare system as a whole. It has also led to reflection when it comes to our health. The distance we have to keep at all times makes us feel just how important proximity and intimacy are.”

Image by morgenmakers
Image by morgenmakers

An example from the programme Chronically Healthy is Kamer 9. It is a project by the social designers of morgenmakers about feeling at home in a nursing home. In the first weeks after someone has moved, the resident quickly adapts to the rest of the home. As a result, he or she loses individuality and self-determination. The Kamer 9 project investigated how to prevent this to happen to people with dementia. And how technology can support this.

The purpose of the talk was to get a glimpse into the projects that are running. What does a designer do? How can organisations benefit from design thinking? And to hear reflections from both sides on the collaborations and perhaps inspire others in healthcare to work this way.

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