Developing an emergent model of care through participatory arts-based practices with elders & community on the Sunshine Coast
College and Community Social Innovation Fund
Deer Crossing the Art Farm
Seniors Planning Table
Good Samaritan Christenson Village
Vancouver Coastal Health
Supporting the Stillbirth Journey
The Butterfly Run Vancouver
BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre
Recovery and Renewal of Participation in Healthcare Change
New Frontiers in Research Fund
University of Alberta
University of Washington
Sheffield Hallam University (Lab4Living)
SE Research Centre
BC Rehabilitation and Recovery Strategy
Systems Change Grant, Vancouver Foundation
Heart + Stroke Foundation
Spinal Cord Injury BC
After Stroke BC/March of Dimes Canada
BC Brain Injury Association
BC Brain Wellness Program
GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre
How might we co-design an emergent model of care on the Sunshine Coast that engages elders and the general community in building a community they want to age into?
With a growing aging global population, there is a need for increased attention to the health, wellbeing, and quality of life of elders (defined in this context as older adults) in our community. Elders’ loneliness and social isolation have increasingly become a public health concern both globally and locally, intensified by the current crisis facing long-term care in. Currently, elder care in BC is provided by an overtaxed health care system and elders are viewed primarily through their care needs rather than as members of the community. Leisure and recreation programs for elders in long-term care and the community, such as therapeutic recreation, are often constrained or cut in times of crisis such as a global pandemic.
The Health Design Lab, in partnership with Douglas College and Deer Crossing the Art Farm, is exploring the development of an emergent model of care which focuses on the region of the Lower Sunshine Coast in BC. The aim is to leverage the strengths of this rural community —including its vibrant arts and culture community and strong grassroots organizations — to co-create a community they want to age into. Over 3 years, the project team, aims to utilize participatory arts-based practices to: create an asset map of the community, identify opportunities for programming that is mutually beneficial to elders and the local community, and pilot those programs within the community.
How can we co-create a patient-facing resource, to better support people who have experienced a stillbirth?
Approximately 3000 families experience a stillbirth annually in Canada. Nearly all take place in the hospital setting, where the experience of care can be uneven and heartbreaking from diagnosis to delivery, to discharge home.
To support families in navigating their hospital experience, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre and the Health Design Lab have been collaborating on the development of a patient-facing resource, through a participatory design approach. The resource will be informed by two co-design workshops (one in-person and one virtual) which took place in February 2023 and engaged 28 bereaved across BC in a series of activities: an advice journal, a comfort map based on sensory experiences, a personal stillbirth journey mapping exercise, and wish-making for an improved stillbirth journey. The workshops were co-facilitated by designers, a physician, a nurse, a counsellor, an Indigenous health representative and other members of the core design team. Data was gathered through written and verbal responses and will be synthesized into themes for the purpose of identifying opportunities for improving the hospital stillbirth journey. Workshop insights will be shared in a presentation to hospital stakeholders and inform a patient-facing resource at BC Women’s Hospital.
Members of the Supporting the Stillbirth Journey Core Design Team
Eden Luna Goldet
How have co-design practices in health evolved, pivoted, and changed during the pandemic, and how can we learn from these experiences to inform the future of co-design practices?
Over the last 10 years, health systems and services have increased the use of co-design practices to engage stakeholders. The pandemic led to rapid adaptations in co-design practices and techniques, and loss of and limitations to engagement – particularly for equity seeking groups. Drawing on the experiences of health designers across sectors and countries, this project seeks to capture how co-design practices, adaptations, and experiences emerged during the pandemic.
Through a community engagement series and online community of practice platform, the Health Design Lab is involved in a collaboration, led by OCAD University, to identify practices through the lens of equity, diversity and inclusion, that hold promise for enabling co-design in health beyond pandemics.
To join the community of practice, click here.
How might we co-create a roadmap for improving the current rehabilitation and recovery services for people with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury in British Columbia?
The current landscape of rehabilitation and recovery for stroke, brain Injury, and spinal cord injury in BC is made up of a variety of systems and services that face challenges in the coordination of care across an individuals’ lifespan. Barriers like the imbalance of specialized health centers and providers across BC, acute-focused care, and the limitations of financial support demonstrate a need for a unified strategy to better support people with these injuries, who require highly specialized expertise and equitable support.
Through a collaboration with the Heart + Stroke Foundation and a project steering committee of community organizations, the Health Design Lab is involved in the development of a strategy roadmap for improving services for people living with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury after they leave the hospital setting. Given that a patchwork of services and programs currently exist, this project seeks to identify how to build a more integrated system to better support individuals in their rehabilitation and recovery journey.
In the initial phase of this project, the team co-facilitating a series of virtual design-led community engagement workshops with people with lived experience and separately with professionals and research involved in their care. The first round of workshops focused on conversations around current needs and services, with the second round engaging participants in conversations about how they would envision a future system that would better meet those needs. Through an in-depth synthesis of the information gathered over 12 workshops, the project team identified 5 areas of focus and 4 areas for future exploration that informed a set of recommendations. The recommendations are the foundation for the development of a provincial strategy roadmap.
Blair Muxiang Yu
Members of the R+R Steering Committee
Decolonizing the Health Care System Through Cultural Connections
College of New Caledonia
Aboriginal Gathering Place, ECUAD
Two Rivers Gallery
How can we deconstruct racism in healthcare by exploring a community-based model for cultural safety education that utilizes material practice as a tool for dialogue?
Cultural Connections explores how Indigenous-led arts and material practice workshops can foster open dialogue between healthcare students and Indigenous community members in the Lheidli T’enneh and surrounding areas (Prince George, BC)
The goal of the project is to develop an Indigenous-led model for cultural safety and humility education that leads to fundamental changes in healthcare providers’ understanding of Indigenous perspectives on health; results in positive changes in healthcare experiences for Indigenous people; and can be scaled and adapted to the unique needs of Indigenous communities across BC. The format is a 2.5-day workshop which combines teachings about Indigenous histories, injustices, and the current state of systemic racism, with local and culturally relevant teaching and making activities; drum making, beadwork, moose hair tufting, and rattle making led by Indigenous artists, with an intentional focus on engaging local artists and community members, where possible.
The project team is made up of Indigenous leaders from the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Emily Carr University and the College of New Caledonia, designers and researchers from the Health Design Lab, external consultants working in healthcare and community planning, and Indigenous artists.
The Indigenous-led model and insights from the project have been shared through an exhibit at Two Rivers Gallery, in a research paper at the Design Research Society Conference and through a digital + print project publication.
Preliminary insights and lessons are shared here as we consider: Where do synergies exist between Indigenous and Designerly ways of knowing, and how can we build impactful relationships and collaborations?
Challenging Stigma Through Storytelling
BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services
How might we amplify the voices of people with lived experience of mental health, substance use and the criminal justice system to reduce stigma and improve current services?
People with lived and living experience of concurrent mental health and substance use, and criminal justice involvement, are often misunderstood and heavily stigmatized, creating barriers to care in community and healthcare settings.
To bring awareness and reduce stigma, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) partnered with the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University on a storytelling initiative. This initiative is part of BCMHSUS’s Understanding Each Other Together (UNITE) Project and focuses on the co-creation of two animated video series, while emphasizing the importance of a participatory and trauma-informed approach to co-design and storytelling; the first series amplifies the voices of people with lived and living experience; the second series engages family members. Both series were co-created over 8-9 virtual sessions, including 3-4 storytellers, 1-2 peer advisors, 2 design students, and 2 project leads per organization.
Key learnings from the collaboration have included how to create safe and brave spaces for gathering stories, using a trauma-informed approach. From a visual standpoint, illustrations and visual metaphors make the invisible visible, emphasizing feelings and emotions, while moving away from stereotypical depictions of mental health and substance use that perpetuate stereotypes.
The videos have been utilized by BCMHSUS in a dialogue series as an approach to shifting conversations, building awareness, and shedding light on the stories of individuals with lived experience of mental health and substance use. Moving forward, the two video series will continue to be shared in structured and unstructured settings as a knowledge mobilization strategy to challenge stigma through storytelling.
Video Storytelling Series Part II – Family Perspectives
Starting in Fall 2022, Health Design Lab has partnered again with BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services to co-create a three-part video series sharing under-represented perspectives and stories of the families of people with mental health and substance abuse experiences. Through this project, we will design and facilitate a series of virtual workshops involving the families of people with mental health and substance use experiences in an effort to create intentional shifts towards reducing stigma and increasing awareness in our communities.
Video Series 1:
Video Series 2:
Come Alive: Shifting the Culture of Care in Long-term Care Homes
Vancouver Coastal Health
How can we shift the culture of care by uplifting the perspectives of people living in care homes, creating space for them to shape the future of their care?
Working collaboratively with people living in care homes, their families and staff, we have been co-facilitating the Come Alive culture change initiative with Vancouver Coastal Health through an emergent and collaborative process since 2018. This initiative explores ways in which participatory design methods can amplify the voices of people in care and their loved ones, in order to drive organizational change.
This project began by bringing to light the rich stories, experiences and aspirations of people living in long term care. Through co-creative workshops, people in care homes were reconnected with their personal histories, current lived experiences and their desires for their future. The synthesis of these narratives and insights iteratively shaped the Vancouver Coastal Health strategy for culture change. This video, created by HDL, amplifies the voices we heard from within the care homes. Watch the video here.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to long-term care, dramatically impacting visitation and socialization within care homes – therefore our collaboration has shifted to address this immediate challenge. Our team has been working to support this community by creating an avenue for families to generate and share ideas about how to connect with loved ones living in care homes. Learn more, here.
DESN 319: Health Design — Perspectives Program: Storytelling through Co-design with People Living in Long-Term Care
Vancouver Coastal Health
Totem Lodge Care Home
Centre for Aging & Brain Health Innovation
How might we leverage existing resources in the community to create meaningful opportunities for engagement and storytelling for people living in long-term care?
Perspectives is a course-based program at Emily Carr, which brings together design students with people living in long-term care for intergenerational exchange and storytelling. The program takes place over a 12-week semester and includes six, one-hour sessions involving small groups of students and people living in care sharing stories together, leading to the production of printed booklets featuring those stories.
The purpose of Perspectives is to create an infrastructure for meaningful intergenerational exchange and social interaction between students, people living in care, their families and care home staff through both the story gathering process and the process of distributing their stories in final, printed publications.
This program gives voice to people living in care homes, providing an opportunity for creative and emotional expression, stimulation of positive memories and the engagement in a unique and meaningful activity that can reopen their stories, while acknowledging their value and what they can contribute. Simultaneously, it offers students learning opportunities in storytelling, co-design and participatory design research.
The program was developed through the Health Design Lab with Jon Hannan (Associate Professor of Communication Design, ECU), Caylee Raber (Director, Health Design Lab) and Donna Levi (Recreation Therapist, Vancouver Coast Health). Nadia Beyzaei (Manager, Health Design Lab). Nadia Beyzaei is currently teaching the course within the DESN:319 Health Design course, for the Spring 2023 semester.
To scale this approach, encouraging other communities to participate, we have created a program Perspectives How-to-Guide. Visit persectivesprogram.ca for more details.
Read more about the latest Perspectives program here.
Collaborate, Gather, Share
Alzheimers Society BC
How might we make research spaces more dementia-friendly so that they foster meaningful collaboration and inclusion of people with dementia?
Collaborate, Gather & Share aims to fosters interdisciplinary and collaborative capacity in dementia research projects in order to transition from a culture of participation to collaboration. Our intention is to drive self-reflection amongst initiators and leaders of dementia related research projects to develop research practice that are grounded in collaboration and recognize people with lived experiences as experts.
University of British Columbia
Canadian Institute for Health Research
Raccoopack Studios Inc.
How might we engage staff, residents and people with lived experience in the design of digital applications and new technologies?
What Matters aims to create an app that can be used in long-term care and hospital settings to comfort patients and residents with dementia during times of distress. The Health Design Lab is leading the user experience research portion of the project, through virtual workshops with people with dementia, carers and staff.
Read more about the project here.
Precision Mental Health
Simon Fraser University
How can we better understand mental health priorities for older adults?
Precision Mental Health aims to disrupt traditional psychiatric approaches to mental health, by using Big Data resources focusing on older Canadians, to predict the degree to which individuals are vulnerable to poor mental health. In partnership with Simon Fraser University, The Health Design Lab will be running a series interactions with older adults in order to bring forward themes which reflect their mental health priorities. The themes and priorities set through these interactions will direct the SFU AI in such a way that it will respond to the lived experiences of aging adults.
Read more about the project here.
Dementia Lab Conference 2021: Supporting Ability
LUCA School of Arts
Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council
Vancouver Coastal Health
Alzheimers Society BC
Dementia Lab is a design-oriented conference that emphasizes how participatory approaches to research can support people living with Dementia (PLWD). As the 2021 hosts of the conference, HDL has been exploring ways in which the design of the conference itself, and the featured workshops and talks, can support, uncover and enhance the abilities of people with dementia. The conference will be held online from January 18-28, 2021.
People living with dementia, designers, researchers and health professionals from around the world are invited to join us for a series of talks, workshops and performances. See dementialabconfernece.com for more details.
Community-Based Co-Design Curriculum
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School
Vancouver Coastal Health
Disability Alliance BC
How can we collaborate with community, while introducing design students to participatory design approaches?
One goal of the Health Design Lab is to provide opportunities for Emily Carr students to gain participatory design skills and experience necessary to work in health and community contexts.
To that end, the Health Design Lab collaborates with the Faculty of Design and Dynamic media in the development and leadership of several community-based co-design projects that provide students with experiential learning opportunities to apply participatory design methods taught to them, in collaborative projects with community members.
- Co-design between elementary school children with learning differences and 2nd year Industrial design students (10+ year partnership with Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School)
- Co-design between people living in long-term care homes and 3rd year design students (3+ year partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health)
- Co-design between people living with disabilities and 3rd year communication design students (2+ year partnership with Disability Alliance of BC)
Avenues of Change: Engaging Families in Squamish
United Way of the Lower Mainland
How can we learn from families living in Squamish about their needs and priorities for investment to support early childhood development?
How can we ensure that the voices of Indigenous Families are heard?
Avenues of Change is a multi-year, multi-phase project funded and guided by United Way of Lower Mainland that focuses on supporting early childhood development within communities. In 2018, the Health Design Lab and the Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia (SPARC BC) were co-contracted to lead family and stakeholder engagement sessions in Squamish, BC, to identify the needs of families with children 0-6 years of age.
The Health Design Lab was primarily responsible for engaging directly with families to uncover opportunities for improvement. From the onset of the project, it became apparent that the biggest challenge would be connecting with families to participate — in particular creating a space for Indigenous families to feel respected and invited as key contributors. Ultimately, we were able to work closely with Squamish Nation’s community leaders to arrange a series of activities including an Indigenous-led Talking Circle, co-design activities and a Blanket Ceremony. This phase of work resulted in a series of action strategies for how local organizations could address systemic challenges facing families in Squamish, and taught us a lot about collaborating with Indigenous communities as designers. More about our learning can be read here.
A New Vision for Care
BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre
How can we identify and support the care needs of women beyond pre-/post-partum care?
In 2018, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre reached out to HDL with an interest in learning more about the needs of women 45 years and above, recognizing that most of their core services are focused on pre-/post-partum care, but women’s health needs extend well beyond that phase of life. HDL Collaborated with BCW to lead a participatory design process, to gather insights from over 1000+ survey respondents as well as 50+ workshop participants including women within this stage of life and a diverse range of care providers to build a rich understanding of the health needs of women in BC aged 45–70.
Utilizing a range of creative strategies including collage, card sorting, role play, video and mapping, we heard from women a need for:
- Education on what to expect at this stage in life to support preventative self-care and monitoring
- Routine comprehensive wellness assessments to help women and care providers establish and navigate an appropriate care plan
- A centre that helps with referrals for specialized women-centered care
Connecting the Autism Community Through Design
Pacific Autism Family Network Foundation
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
University of Victoria, BC Institute of Technology
BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
How can families better connect to research, services and resources within the Autism community?
The Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) is a centre and network of support for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families across British Columbia. Their vision includes the creation of an environment where autism researchers and clinicians can come together to bring current, evidence-led best practices to families and adults living with ASDs. In this spirit, the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr University of Art + Design has been collaborating with the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) since 2015 to gain a better understanding of the communication challenges and research needs of families in the B.C. ASD community through participatory design research and co-design.
This collaboration has undergone four distinct phases, each of which has illustrated different ways in which designers can support and facilitate social innovation. Beginning in 2015, the Health Design Lab first collaborated with PAFN in an exploratory research phase to understand family needs in relation to Autism research. In 2016, we moved towards a more generative research phase, using co-creation workshops to facilitate dialogue and ideation between families and researchers to address the gap in knowledge exchange identified in phase one. In 2017 we transitioned into a more concrete co-design phase to conceptualize a web-platform design that would address the needs of families uncovered through the initial phases of work. Finally, in 2019, these insights were utilized to inform the website development and branding of AIDE, a national knowledge website which is now live here.
The First Five: St Paul’s Hospital
St. Paul’s Hospital Redevelopment Team
How can we imagine the patient and visitor experience for the new hospital?
In 2017-2018 HDL collaborated with the St. Paul’s Hospital redevelopment team, to further explore and consider the patient and visitor experience upon entry into the new hospital. Titled “The First Five”, the focus of this project was on the first 5 minutes, the first 5 user needs and the first 5 actions upon entry. This project explored questions such as: What will be the emotional state of people as they enter the facility and how can this be considered in the design of the space and services delivered? How can we create an entrance space that is empathetic, community-centered and supportive?
The HDL team used a human-centered design approach, to observe, listen and generate insights for the new entrance. Beginning with site visits and ethnographic observations at facilities across the Lower Mainland, our findings informed the development of a set of personas and co-design activities specific to the St. Paul’s Redevelopment project and local community. Utilizing these tools HDL led three community co-design workshops in order to gain insights and recommendations directly from past patients and visitors.
Through a participatory design process and community engagement, this project resulted in a series of ideas and recommendations for the St. Paul’s Redevelopment Team and the future architectural team.