Design, a sometimes forgotten and neglected topic not only in the Paramedic world. Examples include the often poor visibility of exterior ambulance design, unsafe practices on interior ambulance designs, hideously designed uniforms, and not properly thought through industrial design of the equipment we use (heavy, cumbersome, unreliable, expensive. Or all four).
One thing that has always bugged me
is the utilitarian approach to designing the patient area of the ambulance. Essentially the Paramedic’s office, a bit more thought would go a great deal. I was reminded of this shortcoming today when I visited the London Design Museum. There are some great designs and designers on this earth, but apparently we need to stick to old-thinking style layouts, with the accompanying drab and depressing colours. How about improving our workspace – I’m sure it would have a positive impact on happiness at work, and even a good effect on (conscious) patients and bystanders. Environmental perceptions shouldn’t be underestimated.
An interesting piece of ‘design’ was the Music Memory Box, designed to help dementia sufferers. The box is filled with objects and tunes that the individual has a strong emotional bond with; these ties are still present even with advanced dementia, and can provoke quite startling emotional outbursts. I can already picture a bunch of poor demented paramedics in a nursing home, with somebody having put the radio tones for a call in the Music Memory Box. The otherwise quite placid retiree would come out with a strong “Oh damn! Not another call, I wanted to eat my lunch!”.
I’ll leave you to ponder with a picture and a quote from a sculpture outside the Design Museum:
Though human genius in its various inventions with various instruments may answer the same end, it will never find an invention more beautiful or more simple or direct than nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous.
Leonardo da Vinci.
Further reading & Links:
Ambulance Visibility: ambulancevisibility.com
Ambulanzmobile: Delfis Ambulance Design: http://www.ambulanzmobile.eu/brand/en/models/emergency-ambulances/delfis.html
Design Council: Making Ambualnces that don’t kill people: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/publications/design-council-magazine-issue-3/making-over-the-ambulance/
London Design Museum: http://designmuseum.org
Transport Design of the Year 2012: Redesign of the Emergency Ambulance: http://www.designsoftheyear.com/tag/redesign-for-the-emergency-ambulance/
Music Memory Box: http://www.watershed.co.uk/ished/projects/music-memory-box/