Salutogenic Design: Bringing the ‘Person’ Into Personalization in Healthcare by Designing for Disabilities of the Hand

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  • Disability affects around 8 million people in Canada and around 1.3 billion people globally. Those who are disabled experience higher rates of obesity, physical and mental health conditions, and higher rates of poverty than those who are not. This thesis explores disabilities of the hand through illnesses and diseases, congenital conditions, and amputations. Many people experience disabilities affecting the hands, yet may find that devices to facilitate activities and hobbies do not exist or are inaccessible due to the pathogenically oriented healthcare system focusing only on physical health to the extent of being "cured" or free from illness. Those with upper limb differences and conditions affecting the hands can be covered for commercially available prostheses; however, the available devices do not facilitate activities outside of basic functions like grabbing and
    holding objects. This thesis explores physical, mental, and social well-being and how pathogenic care and commercially available devices do not promote health for all three realms. However, the introduction of sociologist Aaron Antonovsky's 'salutogenesis' provides a framework that helps with all three areas of health and well-being through concepts such as stressors and tension, generalized and specific resistance resources, ease/dis-ease continuum, and the sense of coherence. Through the salutogenic model, with the help of design methodology like user-centred design, the research considers how disability could impact someone mentally, physically, and socially. Through a salutogenic orientation, the complex person inside the body with values, emotions, and interests is seen as important rather than just their physical body. The thesis aims to explore how salutogenesis and design can create personalized functional and aesthetic devices for those with hand disabilities so that full health and well-being can be achieved where people can thrive rather than just survive. Four case studies explore concepts from the salutogenic model and design methodology. Two studies focus on hand prostheses and two on disability devices for the hands. They explore concepts of physical, mental, and social well-being, aesthetics
    and function, and concepts from the salutogenic model like stressors, tension, general and specific resistance resources, and the sense of coherence. Each case study identified areas of opportunity for design intervention, which led to the ideation of physical prototypes using 3D printing technology for its customization capabilities and low-cost Salutogenic Design: Bringing the ‘Person’ Into Personalization in Healthcare by Designing for
    Disabilities of the Hand material. The outcome was four different disability device and prosthesis prototypes, two relating to aesthetics and two relating to function. Following the case studies, a participant study is conducted with one participant with a congenital limb difference of
    the hand. The interview discussed the participant's experience with prostheses, as well as perspectives on aesthetics and function. Ideation phases followed the two rounds of interviews. Analyzing the key points from each interview demonstrated areas of opportunity in aesthetics and functionality that were specific to the participant's interests, aesthetics, and hobbies. The outcomes of the four case studies and the participant study showed areas of improvement for prostheses and disability devices in both function and aesthetics. A salutogenic orientation could shift the focus from the
    physical body's condition to the person inside the body who requires prostheses and devices that cater to interests, hobbies, values, and needs to live a meaningful life. This thesis explores the potential of the salutogenic model within design. It proposes 'salutogenic design,' where concepts of the salutogenic model can work within a design framework to explore an individual's complex personality and personhood.

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    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International