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PA33 Reflections from the intersection of palliative care and design
  1. Helena Kjellgren,
  2. Max Kleijberg,
  3. Ida Carlander,
  4. Olav Lindqvist and
  5. Carol Tishelman
  1. LIME, MMC/Innovative Care at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden


This presentation is based on our reflections as two designers entering palliative care, one working with supportive environments for death and dying and one working with issues related to health-promoting palliative care.

Death, dying and mourning are important universal conditions that raise existential thought and reflection. The focus of care is different here than in most other areas, as it is not about curing, and values go beyond medical perspectives. Thus, if we want to support meaningful experiences related to dying, it is necessary to look beyond institutional structures and disciplinary divisions.

The practice of design has begun to move away from a primary concern with the commercial realm, to instead be used as a method to approach complexity to incrementally improve situations. A key aspect of this is to design with those concerned rather than for them. We argue that design related to contextual change requires an immersion within that context. An essential feature of design is making, and so, drawing on this disciplinary background, we iteratively try theories out, working towards minimising the gap between theory and practice. This approach, applied in a sensitive setting, has the potential to result in insights relevant in the particular situation, as well as offering transferable design methods.

Convinced that the intersection of design and palliative care offers opportunities for both sectors, we will present concrete examples from our interdisciplinary research group, to talk about the opportunities and challenges of our work.

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