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Chronic kidney disease has been a major health problem in Thailand as confirmed by the growing number of patients every year in every region. Reports pointed out that poverty and difficult access to public hospitals are among factors that prevent underprivileged kidney disease patients in rural areas from receiving proper medical treatments. Frequent visits to the nearest haemodialysis center are not always affordable, while many dwellings do not meet hygienic standard for home treatments. A mobile peritoneal dialysis unit invention was then initiated by Lamsonthi Hospital, Lopburi, as a part of alternative services known as “Lamsonthi Model” in attempt to fill in service gaps and transform healthcare provisions to fit specific conditions in rural villages. Researched and designed by the Built Environment for Health research unit of Kasetsart University, the prototype was developed through participatory design process between designers, patients and multidisciplinary staffs from Lamsonthi Hospital to create an integrative design outcome responsive to sensitive conditions. With emphasis on affordability and movability, the final design proposed a budget foldable prototype that can be transported in a truck and installed at any location, and later movable to another place to service another patient in need. The unit accommodates wheelchair access and is equipped with sanitary and lighting systems. The post-occupancy assessment of the prototype installed for a 25-year-old male patient at his village home since September 2017 suggested that the unit is able to support required peritoneal dialysis procedures and deal with limitations of rural home environment for the medical treatments. While the prototype still needs further development on material weight and interior environmental comfort, the invention represents a convergence through multidisciplinary approaches to transform healthcare services and encourages awareness of the necessary collaborations between medical discipline and built environment. At the same time, it demonstrates an alternative community-based approach toward specific problems in healthcare that cannot be solved by the traditional system alone.
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