Macquarie University
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Human-centred design and person-centred care: developing design personas in residential aged care

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posted on 2022-03-28, 15:58 authored by Amanda Bryan-Fox
Background: Personas are a human-centred design technique that employ a narrative style to present data and insights in a form that engages our social conscience, emotional intuition and empathy. Representing clusters of service users who display similar behaviours, attitudes or needs, personas can help shift our focus away from the needs of the organisation or system and onto the needs of the service user. Method: First, the concept of personas and human - centred design in aged care was explored through a literature review and examination of persona methodology. Next , the persona methodology was implemented in a residential aged care facility in Sydney, Australia . Data was collected through observation and interview s to understand resident s ' needs, behaviours and attitudes . A variable mapping process was used to identify clusters of similar residents. Insights were presented in the form of personas which were reviewed with key staff to obtain feedback on their usefulness for informing future service improvement initiative. Results The literature review revealed few studies using human - centred participato ry design techniques to enhance person - centred care in aged care . One human - centred design technique not previously utilised in aged care was personas . A methodology to develop ethnographic research - based personas in a residential aged care setting was developed . Four key behavioural and attitudinal variables were identified that distinguished between residents: tendency to interact/isolate; likes to help out/does not help out (insular); strong/weak family bond; and, feeling unsettled in care. These four factors were manifest in three personas. Each persona has a unique identity but draws on the anecdotes, life stories an d experiences of all residents involved in the study. Conclusions: This proof of concept study has demonstrated the potential of personas to assist in the design and delivery of more person - centred care : to drive person - centred decision making ; turn resident data into a ctionable insights; and, encourage aged - care facilities to look at how to deliver person - centred care more effective ly and in new ways. For residents, the technique could allow a vulnerable, often marginalised, group to express their experience, needs, and expectations in their own voice. For service delivery, personas could be used to great advantage in residential aged care to overcome the challenge of operationalising person - centred care.


Table of Contents

Part 1: Concept Development -- 1.1 Introduction -- 1.2 Literature Review -- 1.3 Methodology review -- Part 2: Proof of concept -- 2.1 Method -- 2.2 Findings -- 2.3 Discussion -- 2.4 Conclusion -- References -- Appendix


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 79-83

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Australian Institute of Health Innovation

Department, Centre or School

Australian Institute of Health Innovation

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Anne Hogden

Additional Supervisor 1

David Greenfield


Copyright Amanda Bryan-Fox 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




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