Name:

Gemma Wheeler MDes Product Design

Job Title:

Research Student

Department:

School of Design

Contact:

Image:

The Co-Plan Folder, co-designed with the spinal injury unit community, aims to support patient participation in their rehabilitation journey.
Work by Gemma Wheeler

The Co-Plan Folder, co-designed with the spinal injury unit community, aims to support patient participation in their rehabilitation journey.

Profile
>

Gemma Wheeler

Using traditional and design-led approaches to explore and enhance patient participation in spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

Supervisors: Professor Alastair Macdonald, Dr Mariel Purcell


A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) results in partial or complete loss of sensation and/or function below the level of injury, affecting every aspect of daily life. SCI rehabilitation is a long, complex process that aims to equip patients with the skills needed for the rest of their life, where active patient involvement is ideal.

This research began with a 12-month, in-depth contextual study of the host Spinal Injury Unit (SIU) to identify potential opportunities for enhanced patient participation. Qualitative and ethnographic research methods, such as interviews and observation, were reinforced with design-led methods, such as diagrammatic exploration of the qualitative data. The discussion and development of these diagrams allowed the researcher and SIU staff to co-identify the ‘Goal Planning Meeting,’ (‘GPM’, where patients, family and SIU staff members meet to discuss progress and set rehabilitation goals) as a site for intervention.

A combination of observations, interviews and conversation mapping methods were used to triangulate the experiences of participants in the GPM. From this, the researcher generated several prototype materials that aimed to support patients’ understanding of the GPM and their role within it. These prototypes were then co-developed with outpatients, SIU inpatients and staff in a series of workshops.

The final phase of the study involved the implementation and mixed-method evaluation (using observations, interviews and conversation mapping methods) of the intervention in the rehabilitation pathway of three patients.

The co-developed intervention includes a second prognosis meeting, a meeting to set long-term rehabilitation goals (that address both staff and patient priorities) and simplified documentation of the GPM. Early, anecdotal evidence suggests that patients have a greater understanding of their injury and the progress they are making in their rehabilitation. The use of the intervention also allowed SIU staff to reflect on their own practice and suggest further iterations of the intervention.

PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER OPUTPUTS:
Wheeler, G., Macdonald, A. and Purcell, M. (2015) Defining and using experience goals to enhance patient agency in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. [online]. In: Workshop Proceedings of ‘The Fuzzy Front End of Experience Design’: proceedings of the NordiCHI 2014 Conference, Helsinki, Finland, 26-30 October 2014. Available at: http://www2.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/technology/2015/T209.pdf

Wheeler, G., Macdonald, A. and Purcell, M. (2015) Diagrammatic exploration as a bridge between observation and intervention in design and healthcare research. [online] In: Design4Health 2015, Sheffield, England, 13-16 July 2015. Available at: http://research.shu.ac.uk/design4health/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/D4H_Wheeler_et_al.pdf

Co-organiser and Co-chair of the inaugural ‘Wellbeing by Design 2015’ conference, Forres, Scotland, 7-9 September 2015 [Proceedings pending]

Producer and Exhibitor in the inaugural ‘PhD Behind the Scenes’ exhibition, The Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, 17-19 November 2015

Gemma's work

Gemma's work |

Examples of works by Gemma Wheeler