Interior Design, Sense of Place & Virtual Reality: Improving the Transition from Physical Rehabilitation Centre to Home 

ABSTRACT:
This research explores the patients’ transition between physical rehabilitation centres and the home through the use of participatory design and virtual reality to further establish sense of place. This research critically assesses the current processes in place through a set of case studies and practice-based methodology. The study investigates how the use of design can be customised to improve the transition from rehabilitation to home to prepare the individual for the ‘real world’ in relation to their home environment. The design aspired to allow patients to actively participate in the redevelopment of the space. The importance of one’s home is emphasised in regards to creating independence by designing a home suited to the patient’s needs and abilities. The use of virtual reality was employed to visually design a scenario where patients are able to experience their own home, while in the facility, to facilitate the transitioning process between physical environments.

The first case study investigated a participant and their personal experience with the transitioning process, with the second case study examining a rehabilitation centre and their processes of discharging a patient. The research aimed to inform facilities of the importance of introducing this process within the rehabilitation stage and how this can prepare patients for the next stage of their lives by designing a place to advance independence. 

The research project recreates the home environment through virtual reality, for those within physical rehabilitation facilities to see how certain areas of their home may be inaccessible or problematic. This will then allow patients to be involved in the redevelopment of their home by creating an accessible place. While the current outcome is ongoing, with limited user testing, this project aids in the underpinning of future research and the development of new technology that will allow this outcome to be implicated within physical rehabilitation facilities. The future of this research aims to be implemented within rehabilitation centres as a process to prepare the patients for their return home.