Moving Within Before Moving On
Hospice care is a tricky topic in the U.S., where youth is king and reminders of mortality are hastily shoved out of frame in favor of kitty videos and celebrity offspring sightings. But the nature of hospice environments and palliative care in general must be faced as the population ages—rapidly. And, fortunately, forward-thinking designers and care providers are putting forth some really promising concepts.
In a project commissioned by the Singapore-based Lien Foundation and funeral-services foundation Ang Chin Moh Foundation, design consultancy firm Fuelfor (with offices in Singapore and Spain) studied hospice care in Singapore for nine months. With the help of several established hospice care systems and direct interaction with their patients, caregivers, and families, Fuelfor has developed a concept it calls Hospitable Hospice—placing an inpatient hospice facility right in the middle of a community and integrating contact with its patients into the everyday lives of the community’s members, young and old.
I recommend that you flip through Fuelfor’s 162-page digital booklet on the project and all its initiatives, which go well beyond design ideas for the inpatient building itself. As for that building, Fuelfor advocates for a “Care Central” structure, including such features as a water playground for neighborhood children; private, individually designed rooms for patients; and a “saying goodbye” garden, the last touch point for loved ones and deceased patients. Click on the image above for a closer look at the building’s proposed design, as well as sketches of the patient room and Care Central’s position within the greater community.
The timing is right for radical thinking like this, and not just because coming population shifts are going to demand greater attention to death and dying whether we’re ready to face them or not. The psychic shifts in healthcare today, toward more community involvement and wellness initiatives across the entire continuum of care, also provide solid support for the model Fuelfor is proposing. Maybe it’s still a bit pie-in-the-sky, but that’s OK. Best-case scenarios certainly have their place when talking about difficult subjects. And now that that’s over, feel free to watch this.