The Dialysis Ward

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Well, through ethnographic research and a guiding service design optics Nikolaj Bebe and the rest of the SDSI team found that a normal dialysis treatment in time corresponds to the time going from Copenhagen, Denmark to Malaga, Spain by plane. Except for that a dialyses treatment at the ward does not have the same time economy that, on the other hand, is a perfectly deliberate and intended strategy in the airport industry.

The research also revealed, that an old internal understanding of the ward as consisting of two both mentally and physically very distinct units, was more of a psychological and verbalised storytelling than one that actually occurred in reality in the everyday work and treatment procedures. In short, the difference was not as great as the legend let people to believe. This was actually an important fact to be revealed, as the human mind has a tendency to split life into two polarised realities, meaning a bad pole and a good pole. In other words: a culture of them and us. The ones you don´t agree and are unable to work with are the people placed at the bad pole, while the people placed at the good pole are the ones who think and want the same as you.

The result: Disagreement and people working in different directions.

The reality (in this case): Mostly agreement on how to do things but with both an old polarising storytelling and an architectural design causing differentness.

However, agreement creates opportunities and if you´re able to gather the two units under one flag and create a new storytelling, so that they on their own wants to work together, it releases both mentally and physically space for innovative hospital design – eg. by leaving the old understanding of patients as someone who are to be held in beds and instead empower, encourage and motivate the patients to be more proactive in relation to their own disease by creating a branch of differentiated space where the patients are able to choose in relation to their special needs of the day. Example: do they feel like sleeping, sitting at a desk working or hanging out at a café with other patients talking or learning something new during the hours of dialyses – either about their disease like healthy ways of eating or maybe something completely different like taking an art class. At the same time the healthcare personnel are able to use the different rooms strategically – like putting patients together that can inspire each other in relation to home dialysis treatment, which is cheaper for the hospital and at the same time makes patients more aware and responsible for taking care of their own health. Thus, a situation of a perfectly deliberate and intended strategy is created (just like in the airport industry that you meet on your way to Malaga), and all in all, it´s here the innovation potential and possibility of fulfillment of the stated objectives of the dialysis ward was hidden.

Based on the research results Nikolaj Bebe and the rest of the SDSI team were able to come up with a number of innovative design and architectural proposals, which enabled the personnel of the ward to qualify their needs and ideas and on a knowledge-based fundament engage in the cooperation of their new ward as well as being able to transport their physical and beautiful natural surroundings to a new and not so attractive location.

Keywords: Project Management, Organisation Development, Process Design, Research, Workshop, Ideation, Architecture.