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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Universal Design in Education, Dublin, Ireland, 12-13 November 2015.


The delivery of frontline healthcare services has traditionally been framed by clinical considerations and viewed predominantly from the perspective of the medical professions involved in care of patients. But what if a broader approach was adopted in which the patient experience was placed at the centre of the process and services were framed by design thinking as well as clinical considerations? This paper explores an alternative patient-centred approach to healthcare – both in the hospital and in the community – that draws on universal design principles. The paper examines the Seven Principles of Universal Design (as defined by Ron Mace, North Carolina State University, 1997) and evaluates which of those principles are relevant to the complex demands of healthcare today, using case studies from The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, RCA. The paper concludes by reflecting on the implications of a more inclusive approach for both clinical and design practice.

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