What's happening

21 May 2018

Persona characterisation aids design.

The videos highlight different individuals, presented by actors, creating true to life characters, based on factual research. Although the persona videos were originally made for use in building design for care homes, and for architects to obtain empathy for the individual needs of a patient and their families when designing spaces for needs, the videos have been recognised in the healthcare industry as an invaluable tool.

Professor Sue Hignett, an expert in Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety at Loughborough Design School and PhD student Charlotte Jais are working on the project with Professor Eef Hogervorst, an expert in dementia. Together they have created an insightful aid to those who encounter dementia patients, giving them the opportunity to understand different individual needs through the characterisation of patients and those around them.

Originating from Charlotte’s PhD research, the project has gone onto become a real-life support tool to a much wider audience. With a background in psychology, Charlotte became interested in the project, ultimately to help the design of care homes; using the personas to give designers a clearer understanding of the different needs of dementia patients and their carers and how their environment, with supporting design, can make daily activities easier.  Personas have been used in other areas before such as marketing or software design, but this is a new adaptation of the concept.  The dementia personas designs have developed from their original written form, in a wheel format to identify different needs, into videos to illustrate clearly the different levels of dementia through demonstration.

Working closely with care home staff, the researchers saw clear evidence that the personas would be helpful for care providers, in particularly care delivery and staff handovers. The project also has further development opportunities, in connection with the creation of a ‘dementia house’ – a model home, which is due to open later in the year, has been designed to showcase innovate solutions to the everyday issues experienced by people with the condition.

To view the videos click here.