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Designing for Acute Psychiatry is a project that explored the various aspects of acute psychiatric treatment in Norway today, starting with the seclusion unit in an acute psychiatric inpatient ward in one of Oslo’s biggest hospitals. The initial brief asked for a more dignified experience for patients having to go through seclusion as a treatment method when being admitted to an acute psychiatric care. The ward pictured a solution concerning he interior of the ward. I explored the topic conducting insight with users, relatives and staff, and it became obvious that the first point on the agenda would be to agree on what is dignified patient treatment, and then move on to develop the service a long with the interior. When I got in touch with the team the project had already been going on for a while, and the team kept working continuously next to my process applying for funding to realise the project.

My response to the insight about what must come first, and their ongoing project development, was a set of Ten principles for a human oriented psychiatric treatment. The principles are supposed to work as a guideline for the project team while developing the project, but also as a tool to measure the daily doings at the ward, and finally they are intended to be adopted to other wards and parts of the mental health care system. Next to the principles I developed a set of tools specific for the ward. The aim with the tools was to record the process in an understandable way so that the ward could continue without my involvement but still benefit from the insights gained, and particularly if their applications for funding would fail. The tools were a “Ward-wiki” with information about all the involved parties so far, a service journey connecting ideas, principles and users and an insight book explaining the principles and the process outcomes.

The Project Designing for Acute Psychiatry was my final delivery in the Systems Oriented Design (SOD) course led by Prof. Birger Sevaldson at AHO. It was my final master course before starting the master thesis in service and systems oriented design. In this project mapping was used to sort and systematise insights gained in the process and as a tool to design with the staff at the ward, as well as designing with patients a relatives facilitation talks about sensitive issues. SOD is a design approach developed at AHO and was presented at the systems symposim Relating Systems Thinking and Design III (RSD3) in October 2014. and The collaboration came through AHO’s research unit Design for Public Services (DOT). The ward got funding in september 2014 and together with DOT, and project partners with similar challenges they are using the principles and tools to decide the next steps and continue the project.


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Insight book

The insight book is intended as a recording of the generated insight during the process and it’s primary focus is to transfer the knowledge from me to the other participants in the project as well as new partnes when they would get funding. The book contains indepth explanation of what the principles mean and what following them could be for the user experience for all three users, patients, staff and relatives.

Service Journey

The service journey connecs ideas and principle outcomes with the three user groups; patients, relatives and staff. The idea is to help the project team gain an overview of the process we had together, and easily pick ideas and things to improve on in a quick and efficient way.


The ward-wiki is a stack of cards with information on every participant of the project that I talked through during the design process. The cards contain information on their connection to the specific ward, my project and their hopes and expectations for the coming of the project at the ward. The idea is that the team that picks up can easily get an overview of the expertise existing in the ward, and save time searching for this that already exists.


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These giga-maps were created by the staff at the ward in the first workshop. They were divided in three groups of doctors, nurses and managers and equipped with three different topics and supporting scenarios to help them narrow the narrative. The topics were transfers for the patients at the ward, treatment methods and medication and the facilities in the ward.

The Insight Book

For those of you who want an indepth look into the insightbook it is possible to view it here. Language Norwegian.