Carer and Patient relationship within design

Discussion in 'Researchers, students and professionals' started by Liggy, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Liggy

    Liggy Registered User

    Nov 5, 2015
    13
    Hello everyone,

    From just joining the Alzheimer's Society I am beginning to get to grips with the posting of threads so I hope this works. From looking through the forums and blogs I see a lot of previous students like me who have asked some similar questions, however i will explain below.

    I am a Design and Innovation student , and I am coming to my final year of my undergraduate degree. I have always been interested in the design of medical and health industries and whenever I have the opportunity to pick my projects , I always select ones that I am greatly interested in improving. This time, for my final project I have taken an interest in how Dementia suffers lives can be improved in their home or in the care home. I have the following vision :

    I'd like to explore improving the patient and carer relationship. My general thought is to try and improve the social interaction between the patient and carer and in turn introduce a joint responsibility of carrying out a task. Does anyone have any ideas what these tasks could be? What could be improved from the patient and carer relationship through a tangible/interactive product? Could keeping an active patient (Encourage movement/exercise) improve social interaction?

    Overall, if we can improve the residents independence, this will free up carer time and make room for a more social and interaction experience.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated and I am looking forward to hearing any other take on this vision.
     
  2. arielsmelody

    arielsmelody Registered User

    Jul 16, 2015
    515
    I'm not a carer so I don't have first hand experience, but from seeing a family member suffering from dementia and reading the thread here, I'm not sure what you are proposing. Are you suggesting a product that the carer and dementia patient would use together? My reaction to your post is that carers put immense effort into trying to interact with the person they are caring for, and trying to work with them to help them to do even ordinary everyday tasks like washing, dressing and eating. I can't imagine introducing an additional activity would help, and it would be stressful to carers to have to try to introduce something new when even trying to maintain the existing routine is a challenge, and asking the person looked after to learn a new task or to use a new gadget is not realistic.
     
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,814
    Female
    South coast
    Hello Liggy
    As you have noticed, there have been several undergrads who have posted on here asking advice about various gadgets/technology that they are hoping to develop.
    One of the things that is regularly advised is to actually visit a care home/day centre and see how people with dementia respond to their environment and carers for yourself.

    Why not live dangerously, throw away all your ideas and go with an open mind and no preconceived ideas to see what people with dementia would actually find helpful?
     
  4. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,082
    Brazil
    When I remember when I was mom's main career, all I can say is that I needed more sleep time. 2-4 hrs wasn't enough and I had a breakdown.

    Visit some CH. Talk to residents. Be a voluntary to help and learn with people who care at home.
     
  5. Liggy

    Liggy Registered User

    Nov 5, 2015
    13


    Thanks, good advise! I am trying desparely to get into a care home but it's incredibly difficult. I will keep working on it though!

    Thanks for your suggestion, I think your right about the open mind - it would help me.
     
  6. Liggy

    Liggy Registered User

    Nov 5, 2015
    13
    Hello - thanks for all your comments. Its great also to hear what others think won't work as well as what would, so I appreciate that. Yes I was originally thinking something that they could do together, as i am aware - asking the patient to learn and use a new product could be a challenge therefore , involving the carer was move appropriate? As i say i am at the very beginning of my research and clearly there is a lot to learn. From a personal experience, have you any additional problem areas you could maybe suggest? Anything would be of such benefit.

    I aim to create a physical product, something that could aid the patient or carer. Something they can interact with , and designed in terms of a usability aspect.

    Many thanks again!
     
  7. Liggy

    Liggy Registered User

    Nov 5, 2015
    13
    Thanks for your comments - i fear sleep may be a challenge to solve! Did you have many problems that arise between you and your patient?
     
  8. Sue J

    Sue J Registered User

    Dec 9, 2009
    8,035
    #8 Sue J, Nov 6, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
    Hi Liggy

    Welcome to TP. I have had undiagnosed dementia symptoms for over 5 years now am in my early 50s (well if they have diagnosed it they've not told me:rolleyes:!), I also care for someone who has had symptoms for a lot longer than me and who has been 'neglected' by health an SS. I have learnt a lot and still do, about my own symptoms and how she has lived and managed with hers. I also have professional experience of working as a nurse.

    I am trying to get where you are coming from and do think there are things that could help. e.g. what has helped me is a clipboard where I try and record all important things , appointments, things I need/want to do, symptoms I need to discuss etc. sometimes I need to draw myself pictures as I know they will trigger memory more and sometimes colours - these are specific to how my symptoms affect me. I have a home help and it helps very much to use this board together as the act of discussing what is on there, or what I need to put on there helps to fix it in my memory - I also know to she can then be my 'memory' using the board on days when I can't remember at all. I have lost a lot of language skills and those that I retain are intermittent. Whilst I am still young (relatively for this disease) I know I need to train my brain according to how it now functions which is very different to how it used to, anything or anybody that can observe or understand someone's unique way of functioning can then personalise their environment. I believe this does and will help me to continue living alone.

    I realise and understand this is harder for people that are older and who have lived with the disease for longer, and to identify helpful things is more challenging but not impossible, if you come up with something that helps one person it will be appreciated and of great value. Wish you all the best with it.

    Sue:)
     
  9. Liggy

    Liggy Registered User

    Nov 5, 2015
    13
    Hi Sue,

    Thank you very much for all your comments and insight. I find all your points very valuable to the beginning phase of my research and I can't thank you enough for taking the time to reply.

    This is one great example of a physical object that brings together two people and plays in favour of both users. I think this communication of needs is very interesting and could possibly be developed further. Is there maybe something you have experience through the process of using the board that is an issue? Or any potential improvement or adaptions?

    And being a carer yourself, do you feel like there is any potential problem areas that are worth looking at and developing? Id really like to explore communication more so anything in that respect would be great!

    I really appreciate all your comments, and I can't thank you enough for the feedback and suggestions :)
     
  10. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,082
    Brazil
    When I was caring my mother, I dreamed about some children furniture. To avoid her going in kitchen, to keep her safe while I was sleeping.
     
  11. Liggy

    Liggy Registered User

    Nov 5, 2015
    13
    Ok that's great - thanks, definitely an area to consider! Thanks
     

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