Improving Home Care with Thoughtful Shipper Redesign

When the last mile includes the doorstep, design accommodates patients with limited dexterity post-surgery or diagnosis.

For patients just returning home from spinal surgery or diagnosis, bringing a large shipment of medical equipment into the home can present a challenge.

Recently, one of the UK’s leading home delivery companies sought to improve upon the existing off-the-shelf shipper, which was difficult for customers to bring into the home and open without assistance.


For more on design with dignity, see: 6 Tips for Preventing Use Errors in Packaging Design


To provide clients with as positive an experience as is possible when receiving the vital equipment, the delivery company tapped the team at Antalis’ Smart Packaging Centre (SPC) to create a custom system to package medical equipment and instructions. The medical devices being shipped change based on client requirements.

“The challenge around this design was accommodating customers with limited dexterity and cerebral palsy—due to their condition, handling and receiving packages that are taped together or contain any significant weight were impossible to receive or open,” says packaging technologist manager Jason Poxon. “This was overcome with the use of a small hole in the top of the box and a specially designed tear strip to enable customer to easily open the box using only their thumb or a single finger, without risk of damaging the product inside or risk of paper cuts to the customer.”

The design incorporates an easy-to-use thumb hole and tear strip that enables customers to open the packaging easily; a pull cord and castors make it possible for the box to be pulled through doorways.The design incorporates an easy-to-use thumb hole and tear strip that enables customers to open the packaging easily; a pull cord and castors make it possible for the box to be pulled through doorways.

The team also solved the issue of lifting a box (that would be left at a doorstep) into the property. “This was overcome using castor wheels and a pull rope with a handle to get the box into the customer’s home,” Poxon explains.  

A key focus is that the packaging can be opened easily and without dependence on others, while presenting the contents in a more professional manner. Beyond the ergonomically designed outer shipper on castors—which uses recycled materials to reduce carbon footprint—a secondary box with magnetic enclosure is included to provide handy storage for the apparatus instructions.

The system has undergone one round of trials, and expects to commence a second round in early March of this year.

The subject matter requires sensitivity, as Poxon explains, this will be the first experience the customer has outside of hospital with their condition. The project challenged the team to think differently about packaging and how it is used by the end user. He says, “The packaging needed to work not only as a means of transporting goods from one point to another… it had to function on a much higher level too, working for the end user on both a physical and emotional level by helping them to retain a degree of independence at an incredibly difficult time in their lives. The fact that the trials went so well and the positive responses the client has received from their customers, is one of the best demonstrations I have seen of the power of well-designed packaging." 


Related reading: Case Study: The Emotional Side of Pediatric Infusion

Companies in this article
More in Adherence/Delivery