Publication Details

Yoxall, A., Bell, A. & Walton, K. (2014). Warning! : packaging can damage your health. In A. Yoxall & K. Christer (Eds.), Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Design 4 Health 2013 (pp. 303-315). Sheffield, United Kingdom: Sheffield Hallam University.


Previous work by the authors has shown that access to packaging in hospitals can influence the nutritional status of patients. This work indicated that five particular pack forms performed badly and that the issue surrounding poor access was both linked to strength and dexterity. The study presented here looks at initial work undertaken to examine the dexterity needed to access these problematic packaging and examine methods for measuring users dexterity. To that end a Purdue Pegboard, questionnaires, HSV and task analysis were used. This work showed that there was a direct link between the reduction in dexterity and the time taken to open a pack. Further, packs that required multiple stages and complex actions were more likely to be ranked as problematic and cause problems for patients and staff. Significantly, even users with poor dexterity were however, able to open the packs. This is consistent with work undertaken by Sangar (2011) that showed users who had very poor dexterity and who had their medication decanted could with some effort open their medication. This leads to the conclusion that inability to open the packs is a function of the dexterity, time taken and motivation. In a hospital setting the 'wellness' and posture of the patient may affect dexterity and hence increase time. The degree of 'wellness' is also likely to contribute to reduced motivation.