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New designs transform patients' privacy & dignity - Ann Keen
26
Mar '10
Revolutionary 'bed pods' and screening systems, modular toilets and washrooms and a redesigned patient gown are just some design prototypes to improve patient privacy and dignity unveiled by Health Minister Ann Keen at the Design Council.

The groundbreaking designs are the culmination of 'Design for Patient Dignity', a programme from the Department of Health and Design Council, which has brought together seven teams of leading UK designers and manufacturers with frontline healthcare staff to help solve privacy and dignity issues for patients.

The design concepts and prototypes include:

• Universal Patient Gown – which features a dignified design, is warmer and more comfortable
• BedPod – which creates a private, patient-controlled bed environment
• Capsule Washroom – to rapidly refit wards to create single sex toilet and washing facilities
• Reclining Day Chair – a unique hybrid between a wheelchair and a bed which provides greater comfort and security for patients being moved around the hospital
• Novel Screening Systems – to separate male and female areas on wards
• Flexible Signage System – to allow staff to designate same-sex areas

The top UK design teams include the renowned fashion designer Ben de Lisi, PearsonLloyd – who have previously developed the Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Super Seats – the RCA and specialist architectural, interiors and other specialist designers.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:
'As a nurse, I know that patients expect and deserve not only high quality, safe and effective care, but a dignified experience when they go into hospital. It is essential that the high standard of work carried out by our skilled NHS staff is not undermined by patients feeling vulnerable and undignified when they receive treatment.

'The Design for Patient Dignity Programme is a groundbreaking initiative. Today, we have seen what can be produced by bringing designers, manufacturers, patients and experts together to help transform the hospital experience for millions.

'I have spent years being embarrassed by asking people to wear revealing patient gowns and I know that patients will feel far more confident with the new design. We want to ensure that patients' experience of the NHS goes from good to great and the exciting designs unveiled today show patients what they can expect from the NHS of the future.'

David Kester, Chief Executive of the Design Council, said:
'The prototypes launched today provide simple, practical responses to the healthcare issues that we all care about. Design for Patient Dignity demonstrates that when we listen to the public and bring frontline NHS staff together with industry, great innovation and enterprise thrives.'

The work followed extensive research into what issues matter most to patients, staff and experts, such as being able to discuss personal details without other patients hearing, being in a single-sex ward or bay, having single-sex toilet and washing facilities, having personal control over their environment, and improving hospital nightwear and gowns.

The teams were appointed following a nationwide search for designers and specialist manufacturers who could together develop designs, as well as create prototypes and put them into full-scale production for introduction to hospitals.

Over sixty design teams applied to the challenge, and were judged by a panel of the UK's most respected experts in design, patient care, hospital management and nursing. It is hoped the designs will be introduced to hospitals in 2011.

Department of Health

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