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Hospitable Hospice - Redesigning care for tomorrow


Lekshmy Parameswaran ,

László Herczeg


Introduction: fuelfor is a design consultancy specialised in healthcare innovation over the last 20 years. We apply a people-centred design approach to improve the way people experience all aspects of health; designing product, service and space solutions that address healthcare challenges from prevention to diagnosis and chronic disease management.

In 2013 we were asked by the Lien Foundation and ACM Foundation to rethink the experience of end-of-life care and propose a future vision for inpatient hospices in Singapore. The Hospitable Hospice project was a first-of-a-kind look to redesigning the experience of death and dying.

Our people-centred design approach was empathic and multi-faceted, enabling us to unpack the complexity and break the silence around this taboo subject. To understand the key issues and needs of all the people involved, in order to inform and inspire the creation of an integrated design vision and strategy.

By engaging key stakeholders in co-designing their future, the project proved that design is a powerful advocacy tool for social change. The outcome visualised a new model for long term and palliative care for Singapore. We would like to share the key challenges of the project, the design-driven approach and the new model of care experiences that we developed. We would also like to showcase a number of spin-off implementation projects that are now being built using the principles and concepts developed in this unique and visionary design research project.

Key project questions: What are the human needs, values, hopes and fears in relation to end-of-life care, for patients, their loved ones and professional care givers?

How can we identify opportunities to transform the hospice care experience and strengthen its value for people through innovative new products, services and spaces?

How can we create a new service blueprint to guide and inform the creation of future hospice care facilities in Singapore?

How can we communicate this new vision of hospice-based care as a positive and life-affirming health care experience, thus shifting perception of palliative care in society and in the healthcare industry?

A new model of hospice care: The Hospitable Hospice is...

OPEN for communities
PERSONALISES care for patients
Helps people NAVIGATE the end-of-life journey

We envision a world of the Hospitable Hospice - where people welcome and accept hospice care as a service that truly matters to them; patients are empowered to voice their needs and wishes; families have the tools and support to feel confident taking decisions on the end-of- life choices they face; and hospice spaces are directed and designed to maintain and celebrate the best of life until the end.

The Hospitable Hospice, a place we would all choose to go…

Key supporting insights:

- Hospices remain isolated from society.

- Patients want to keep living while dying.

- Palliative care teams themselves need car.

- Loved ones need ongoing support.

- Resources are already over-stretched.

- Hospice spaces are not designed to support palliative care practices.

7 Core concepts: comprise up a new vision for in-patient hospice care:

Care Central - a new type of care setting that brings together palliative care for a community, coordinating hospice home care, day care, ambulatory and in-patient care.

Open Hospice - a service platform that ensures Care Central is integrated into the community via a range of outreach services and programmes.

Compass for the End-of-Life - offers guidance and support via a set of communication tools to help people better navigate the end-of-life care journey.

Building Communication Bridges - bonds professional palliative care networks with an open and holistic communication platform that organises conversation threads around each patient.

Care Marketplace - a concept that promotes volunteerism as a mechanism to open up the hospice service, and harness the enthusiasm of citizens as a vital ingredient to drive the Open Hospice vision.

Enjoying Life´s Little Pleasures - a host of ways to bring joyful moments into hospice life for patients, loved ones and staff throughout the daily program, but also through special outings and events.

Giving Patients a Voice - central to the hospice experience is the uniqueness of each patient, their story and their situation. Personalised care respects human life at the end-of-life.

24 Universal Experience Design Principles underpin these ideas and can be used as building blocks in creating new products, services and spaces for end-of-life and long term care. 

How to Cite: Parameswaran L, Herczeg L. Hospitable Hospice - Redesigning care for tomorrow. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2016;16(6):A379. DOI:
Published on 16 Dec 2016.


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