Homeliness in Health Care: The Role of Everyday Designing

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This article examines how a sense of home can be created in complex clinical healthcare contexts for vulnerable patients. While existing research in this field focuses mainly on patient experience, we take a design anthropological approach to advance the discussion by examining how healthcare staff participate as “everyday designers,” who improvise to create circumstances for homeliness. We draw on ethnographic research undertaken in the Older Persons Unit (OPU) of a Psychiatric Department, before and after the Unit’s move from an older facility to a newly built large regional hospital in Australia. We propose that the ongoing everyday designing of homeliness by hospital staff, in collaboration with patients, is an element of care that contributes significantly to bringing the feeling of “home,” and the sense of comfort associated with it, into a clinical environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-232
Number of pages20
JournalHome Cultures: the journal of architecture, design and domestic space
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2019


  • home
  • homeliness
  • healthcare environments
  • design anthropology
  • everyday designing

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