Design and dementia: A case of garments designed to prevent undressing


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Abstract

This article focuses on garments used in care environments. We investigate a patient overall, developed for the care of people with severe memory problems, severe learning difficulties and brain injuries. The aim of the use of a patient overall is to prevent undressing in socially inappropriate situations and/or to stop the user from removing an incontinence pad. This article is based on interviews of designers of medical textiles and patients and family carers in Finland. Both designers and patients found patient overalls to be infantilizing and stigmatizing for the user but accepted the basic functions of the product. We report results of a design project aimed at designing a new type of garment that takes into account the technical requirements but provides a more dignified look and opportunities for activity. We discuss the ethical issues concerning the use of this kind of product in the care of people with dementia.

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