Terminally ill people undergo through an emotional roller-coaster. This project aims at creating concepts to help them cope with their illness and that is important to give them a sense of control.
Within the realm of uncomfortable interactions, our challenge was create tangible interactions to mitigate the pain of terminally ill people.
Adjusting to the news of terminal illness can be extremely critical. When faced with a knowledge that one is terminally ill, there are number of emotions that must be managed. Our project focuses on palliative care patients. Through our interviews at hospice services we found out the valuable insights about the emotional journeys such patients undergo. This helped us inform our design directions.
Some insights from our literature review were: 1) Many adults are comfortable expressing positive emotions such as happiness. They may refrain from sharing feeling that they fear may make other uncomfortable.2 ) Acceptance is not about giving up, it is about finding peace. 3) Coping with the changes that illness brings, requires looking at all aspects of life in new ways for the patients and also for a friends and family members.
We interviewed the staff working at Olcott Center hospice service. The doctors and nurses who work with terminally ill patients, know them better than their families in some cases. Some of the key quotes were:
- “...that is how they want to spend their rest of the days, not getting hooked up to machines and fighting, but be at home and live their lives the way they want to, in comfort of their homes with their loved ones...”
- “And all of those emotions, if you think about being slowly taken away from you, will present sadness sometimes, some review of what your life has been so far.
- “There is a level sometimes of depression, because you’re saying goodbye to your loved ones. You may not be ready to die yet, but this is the diagnosis that you've been, that you’re handed, that you've been played.”
- “Sometimes they want to do something for the future, like prepare some cards, you know, sweet sixteen, your beautiful wedding days, those kind of things. If we could help with that…”
Having Control Over Life: Terminal patients feel a loss of freedom and capability to do things on their own.
Accepting Fate: This is the first state when the patient gets the news. It can take weeks or even months to accept the reality.
Seeking Support: Giving terminally ill patients emotional support adds quality to their life and help them cope with their illness.
Having Sense of Meaningful Life: It is important to make patients realize their importance in loved ones lives and remind them of their accomplishments.
Resolving Issues: Patients may not want to communicate directly with their family members if they are not close enough. So it is important to communicate and express their feelings.
Along with the illustrations we used photography as a way to represent our concepts. This was unique as we involved people using those concepts in real world.