#COT2017 S39. Arthritis: Products and life hacks

IMG_0296Elizabeth Raby and Ela Neagu, designers from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design , ran this workshop and gave a brief overview of the work of the Helen Hamly Centre which is part of the Royal College of Art.

The key areas of work undertaken by the Centre are related to social and global issues, healthcare and age and diversity and the focus of this workshop was on a project being undertaken in collaboration with Arthritis Research UK  Support Systems.

This project has been informed by the fact that a lot of people with arthritis are unaware of the products available to support them in undertaking ADL, finding out what exists, how it might be of help and where to get it from. The focus of the project is on the smaller items of equipment costing under £50.

Support systems is a two year project coming to completion in the autumn and during this time people with arthritis, clinicians and experts have been involved in its development as well as a number of networking sites. Over this time information has been gathered via a range of methods including workshops, interviews, card sorts and user testing. Cultural probes were also used to ensure that the views of hard to reach groups have been included.

Key findings of the work include: that the majority of information about products is passed by word of mouth and people learning from experience; that people are pretty creative in coming up with their own solutions if a product can’t be found and, something that will be familiar to OTs, there is stigma associated with product use.

One of the issues raised is that even if people find their way to an equipment catalogue the way information is presented currently means that it may still not be obvious what a product is for.

So how to make it easier for people to find out information about products?

A great question and really interesting to see how this has been approached from a co-created collaborative approach. During the session we were asked to input our views on a range of questions arising from the project and given an insight into some of the ideas that are being tested. These included things that will be familiar such as

  • Databases
  • Information sheets e.g. Top 10 gadgets for your home….. under £50
  • Video tips – on how to use specific items of equipment e.g. using a helping hand or how to adapt things yourself – e.g making handles of cutlery easier to hold

and some things that are new and innovative

A Chat BOT – which takes users through a series of questions to arrive at suggestions of possible products

It was great to have an opportunity to find out about the project and also input into some of the ideas. All of these are at prototype stage and will provide ARUK with new ideas about how it can work more closely with people with arthritis to support people with arthritis in identifying products more easily to maintain their independence.

Written by @LynneGoodacre


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