About the project

The following abstract for my Major Research Project is in fulfillment of a Masters of Design in Strategic Foresight & Innovation from OCAD University. Many posts included in Death, Dying and Design are extracted from this research. The contents listed below are linked to blog posts and a PDF download from the original publication is included with each post. I welcome discussion on designing for the end of life experience and how we might encourage conversation, build understanding and design better experiences for families that are truly human-centred.

Many thanks to my advisors, Kate Sellen, Associate Professor, Strategic Foresight & Innovation at OCAD University and Nancy Lefebre, Chief Clinical Executive, and Senior Vice President Knowledge & Practice at Saint Elizabeth for their guidance throughout the project.

Bridging the Distance:
Communicating to Distance Family Members during Palliative Care
Communication within families can be a critical concern for a person diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. As the patient is faced with decisions about their care, family members are also faced with decisions about their supporting role during this emotional time. Access to information—or lack of access to information—can be a key factor in the ability to feel connected to a loved one, as they experience decline at end-of-life.

Added to the complexity of connection and decision-making at end-of-life is an increasingly aging demographic; a changing family structure, no longer defined by traditional roles and geographic proximity; and a Canadian society that is unable, or unwilling, to discuss death and dying.

A design research approach, supported by systems thinking and future shifts, is used to better understand the communication needs of family members at a distance during palliative care. The project also explores a complex problem, rooted in what it means to be human: to live life, and to accept the death of our loved ones and ourselves.