Inclusive design for a care home

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Abstract

Nordic Conference on Activity Theory and the Forth Finnish Conference on Cultural and Activity Research (FISCAR10) Proceedings ISBN 987-952-60-0021-3 p. 160

INCLUSIVE DESIGN FOR A CARE HOME
Pirkko Raudaskoski

The paper discusses the methodological challenges of both theorizing and implementing analytic work that enables swift changes (that is, immediate design (Keinonen 2007)) in the everyday institutional and other processes of a care home for severely brain damaged people. The home will serve as a ’living lab’ and the main aim of the project is to increase the sociality and general well-being of the occupants to make it possible for them to improve their contact with each other, with the family members and with the personnel. This means that all the actors will be involved in a learning process. The project is exceptional in the sense that instead of doing an action research or other intervention in an already existing organizational frame, there is a possibility to have an impact on the infrastructure from the very start. The starting point for the project discussed in this paper is that identifying and supporting learning and other change in a site requires a thorough understanding of the everyday situated practices. The care home is going to employ people who have a vivid interest in becoming part (if not the) research team, some of them might even do a part-time degree on the topic. The family members or other caregivers are also going to be willing lay researcher participants. Thus the project is about diagnostics and the attempt is to create cooperative advocacy (Büscher &al 2009). In the paper, methodological issues will be discussed to do with the lay people as ethnographers/designers. With which socio-technical systems 1) to best collect the observations (that can be also intuitive or hunches) and 2) to best share this data with others for learning and design.
So, the focus is on the site as a collection of interrelating activity systems that evolve through concrete social actions constituting institutional or private practices such as having breakfast or having a family member for a visit. To be able to dissect the complexity of everyday practices, three foci can be selected for a closer inspection: 1) people (who always have certain life histories and skills), 2) concrete material settings and 3) how 1) and 2) play a role in constituting the daily practice through discourse and other action. How to design for a framework that would make it easy for the participants, as part of their professional or mundane caring practice, to make observations, become witnesses, giving evidence that might result in change? As the occupants are severely brain damaged, they have limited communication skills with language or by other means. Instead, others will have to mediate their experiences. These accounts are necessarily (value-laden) transformations that can be problematic also due to the sudden identity change for the occupant from a ‘normal’ person to a ‘disabled’ person and the wish for the people around to restore the ‘old version’ of the person. Is there space for disability advocacy in this environment?

Büscher, M., O’Neille, J., Rooksby, J. 2009. Designing for diagnosing. CSCW 18.
Keinonen, T. 2007. Immediate, product and remote design. IASDR07.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNordic Conference on Activity Theory and the Forth Finnish Conference on Cultural and Activity Research (FISCAR10) Proceedings
Number of pages1
Publication date22 May 2011
ISBN (Print)9789526000213
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2011
EventNordic Conference on Activity Theory and the Forth Finnish Conference on Cultural and Activity Research - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 23 May 201025 May 2010

Conference

ConferenceNordic Conference on Activity Theory and the Forth Finnish Conference on Cultural and Activity Research
Country/TerritoryFinland
CityHelsinki
Period23/05/201025/05/2010

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