Improving the experience for people caring for loved ones with terminal cancer.

Posted by on Jul 25, 2017 in Academic, Design, personal | No Comments

Did y’all know i was doing a Visual Communication Masters? No?

Well it’s understandable given I started it in 2012/2013 and had to postpone my final major until this summer (2017 – so 4 years then?).

So I’m spending the summer studying and completing my final major.

Here’s the brief:

Improving the experience for people caring for loved ones with terminal cancer.

Being told you have cancer is tough on everyone involved, patient, carer and friends. Discovering that your diagnosis is terminal can be devastating. There is a lot to process, prepare and get used to with new routines, complicated medicines, affairs to put in order and relatives to inform. You could be talking to multiple organisations and individuals at the same time, all alongside spending quality time with your loved one and taking care of yourself. Carers find it difficult or impossible to seek support and help for themselves during this fraught time and the negative effects of all this can sometimes hit you after your loved one has died.

There is support out there, but it is difficult to access, maintain and see the ongoing benefits of. Often there is more than one organisation offering the same support, which can get frustrating and upsetting having to repeat challenges and experiences that you have faced to get what you need.

Surprisingly, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience, gifting you with knowledge and skills you may otherwise never have. Often, this aspect of the role of the carer is overshadowed by the sacrifice they are making. The overwhelming sentiment from others being sympathy or hardship, when celebrating resilience and connection can be a powerful message for the carers to hear.

Caring for my father through his terminal cancer, I was both fortunate and unfortunate in my circumstances. I was close by, interested in learning about what I could do to help and had flexible work hours. My family also had the support of the palliative care unit, oncologists and a great hospice. There were still surprises, both ones we could have prepared for and ones we couldn’t have.

By drawing on my own and others experience, I will attempt to develop resources to help minimise fear, uncertainty and pain, giving the position of carer a clearer path to follow.

This project sits within the healthcare and social care sector in the UK. This project seeks to investigate pressure on carers managing a loved one’s terminal illness. The project will also look into the health and wellbeing of carers while their loved one is alive and after they have passed away.

I hope to mitigate and reduce confusion for carers while caring for a dying loved one, and after they’ve passed away.

Goals and aims:

  • Test the current digital & in person experiences.
  • Document and map journeys through the care path.
  • Look at countries other than the UK for any best practice or innovation in the field.
  • Research new technologies for opportunities to improve poor service and experience.
  • To isolate 2-3 opportunities to improve.
  • Prototype, iterate and produce project work through to visualised concept/s and a working example.

Assessable outcomes:

Outcomes could include areas such as a focus campaign highlighting the viewer to the trials and tribulations of the carer of a terminally ill cancer patient, giving tips and advice to help this sad passing more palliative and manageable. This campaign could be print or screen based and seen as a one-stop-shop for carers, giving advice to families and friends on how to help with these sad times. This area will be more focused when research into current methods have been completed and problems found that need to be addressed.

I’m hoping to document the process here so if you’re interested in this project, keep checking back or drop me an twitter DM

Big love 🌹

– Eriol

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