The LOLA presentation on Hospital Gown Design focused on empathetic design. As an interior designer I usually only think of empathetic healthcare design as it impacts the built environment. I honestly had not given much thought to the comfort of patients in regards to what they wear. To me, it shows how important it is for everyone to work together in empathic design so that all areas are touched on and nothing gets missed. The idea of a hospital gown that is designed around users’ needs seems pretty intuitive. Why aren’t the ones provided in clinics and hospitals already designed around patient’s needs? I’m sure the answer, like most when it comes to poor design, is cost. The price of hospital robes that are better designed are higher, as the LOLA presenter brought up, and if the price is higher healthcare facilities will not be providing them for patients. INGA Wellbeing charges 69.95 euros for a robe from there collection. That is over $80 US dollars, and even though the price of the product might be worth it, it limits the target market dramatically. If you are already facing hospital bills and expenses dropping that kind of money on something that is not necessarily a necessity might not be an option. I very much appreciate what INGA is doing, but I hope that similar products become more readily available to those who could really benefit from them.
The Aging in Place presentation also focused on empathetic design, but this one was solely focused on senior care. I had never heard of the “Granny Pods” before and was really interested in the setup. My mother took care of my grandmother for the last several years of her life. She lived very close to my parents, so my grandmother was able to stay in her own home for a long time, but it finally came to a point where she needed more supervision so she moved into my parents’ home. It was hard for both my grandmother and my parents because they both felt like they had lost a certain level of privacy in their lives. I feel like the Pod would have been great for them. They would have both had privacy, but it would have allowed my mom to care for my grandma easier. The one thing I did notice was the set-up of the Pod. In design studios, when we design for healthcare or senior care, we try to disguise medical equipment and ADA compliant features as much as possible so that the user does not feel like they are in a healthcare setting. The Granny Pod did not seem to do that. It looked like a little hospital room apartment. I feel like for the cost, it could have been made a little more aesthetically pleasing on the interior to help distract the people living there from any issues they might have.
The presentation on a more sustainable menstrual cycle caught me off guard, I’m not even going to try to lie, mainly because it is just not a topic that society talks about. Traditional female hygiene products are designed to be discrete and secret because again, we don’t talk about it. When it comes to a women’s sustainable journey it is an important topic that needs to be discussed. I guess since it really is not talked about, it is something that I had not thought about, so I am glad that it was brought up in this class. I do not have a lot of information on the topic, so I am not sure what else to say about it, but it is something that I will give thought to.
Mr. Vincent did not seem to let much, if anything, hold him back from what he wanted to do. It seemed that he did have some physical issues that may slow him down, but he made it very clear that they did not hold him back. The responses from the interview actually completely changed what my group decided to do because he did not have the impairments we had originally anticipated him to have. My group plans to focus on empathic design as our main theory so that we address all the human needs of Mr. Vincent when we put together our project. We hope to incorporate other theories as well, but since we completely changed our topic we are still exploring how we will address our problem.
In one month and one week, I will officially be an OSU graduate! To me, it makes my sustainable journey that much more important. It is easier to make good choices when you hear about the impact of those choices a few times a week, it is much harder in day to day life without those reminders. I have made several changes in my life that contribute to a more sustainable life, but I have a long way to go. I plan on making a list of things around the house that could be made more sustainable so that I can continue to work towards my goal after graduation.