One of the benefits of working in design consulting is that you are constantly exposed to new ways of working, thinking and considering. For example, about six months ago I was exposed to the concept of ‘models of care’ in healthcare systems.

A model of care is a set of steps, practice guidelines, and instructions on how to provide the best possible care for a patient. This is about more than how to practise medicine, it’s about taking into account individual circumstances, medical best practice, legislation, services offered across the system, and using all this to take a holistic approach to ‘care’ for someone. A good model of care (for example, the Cancer Council’s care pathways) asks ‘how can we deliver the best possible outcomes for each patient?’

This is even more complex for people at the end of their lives, where the ‘best possible care’ can mean many different things. Maintaining dignity, making sure patient choices are respected, and ensuring equality of access are all challenges here. The new ‘assisted dying’ laws in Victoria are an example of legislation that has been put into effect to address some of the care needs of people with terminal illness that were not previously being met by our health care system in Victoria.

We were incredibly privileged to have played a small part in the design of this new system.

Something that is unfortunate about how much of society delivers services, is that even with efforts towards fair access and equity, many of our systems still favour the advantaged. Just staying with health care in Australia – the design of the NDIS, despite its rhetoric around choice, has unfairly advantaged the already privileged.

Maybe approaching the work of design, and thinking about the models we create as ‘models of care’ can help us here?

How do we care for people, society, and the planet, and what models are we following? How can the models and systems we design deliver the best possible outcomes, so that all people can be treated with dignity, equality and respect?

— Reuben Stanton & the PG Team

Read the rest of Issue #40 here.