Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
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Consumer and Community Engagement

Consumer Engagement

The WCHN will provide all children, adolescents, women and their families with the best possible care that is based on patient-centred principles. To ensure that care is the best, we involve consumers into our workforce and decision-making processes.

What is a consumer?

Consumers are people who use, or are potential users of the health care service. They can be patients, families, carers, friends and other support people.

Who can be a Consumer Representative?

A consumer representative can be a patient, carer, parent, family member, friend, or potential patient of the Women's and Children's Health Network (WCHN).

Who can be a Community Representative?

Community Representatives are individuals or representatives of organisations that have an interest in the WCHN.

Participation – Our Values

Participation in WCHN services should happen at every level. It starts off when you are having treatment, continues through discharge and is maintained through having a consumer voice. The WCHN has a responsibility to provide consumers with avenues to participate to enable effective partnerships with community groups and consumers.

Participation – Our Principles

The WCHN follows a code of conduct for the way staff deliver health care, with the following principles:

  1. Patient-Centered / Family Care
  2. Diversity
  3. Transparency
  4. Partnership
  5. Access to Information
  6. Empathy

Consumer Involvement

Working in partnership with consumers contributes to greater safety and quality of services for the Women's and Children's Health Network (WCHN). Consumer representatives are encouraged to co-design, consult and provide feedback about the delivery of services within the WCHN.

Consumers can be involved in the following ways:

  • Membership on a formal committee.
  • Review patient safety and quality data and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Educate and train WCHN staff on person and family-centred care and the consumer experience.
  • Participate in focus groups on topics relating to design, redesign and service improvements.
  • Work in collaboration with staff on time-limited projects, such as the redesign of a community space, or developing a brochure.
  • Provide feedback on the way a particular service of the Network is delivered.
  • Participate in workshops.
  • Participate in the crowd-sourcing online consultation hub.
  • Supporting the Network to achieve safety and quality results on formal committees.
  • Support events in the hospital and community sites including fundraising.
  • Attend conferences and present at conferences on behalf of the Network.
  • Participate on interview panels for staff selection.
  • Become a consumer consultant for a project.
  • Participate in a service review team.
  • Participate in media and communication activities for the Network.

Quality Care

  • Information provided must be easily understood.
  • Consumers know their rights and responsibilities.
  • Barriers to accessing on of the WCHN services are removed.
  • Consumers are allowed to work with staff in care planning.
  • All people are treated with dignity, courtesy, respect and we actively listen to their voice.
  • Consumers will be always informed.

Being treated with dignity

  • Services will be sensitive and confidential.
  • Rights and Responsibilities are explained.
  • Patients can be part of the decision-making process.
  • There will be mechanisms for providing, receiving, acting on and reporting on feedback provided.
  • All people honour the non-smoking policy and healthy eating policy when accessing our services.

What does the literature say?

The WCHN consumer and community engagement approach is underpinned by:

- the International Association for Public Participation Spectrum for Engagement

IAP model

Click image for full size PDF (146kb)

- Harts Ladder for engaging children and young people in decision making.

Youth participation ladder

- Twyfords appreciative enquiry model for stakeholder engagement.

The WCHN requires public participation across our diverse range of consumers and community stakeholders which is considered, assured and developmentally appropriate. Bringing consumers and community stakeholders into our decision making is essential for rigour and accuracy.

The WCHN chooses to engage the public on a continuum ensuring that at all stages the public are informed and to allow for some opportunities to place final decision-making in the hands of the public. Not every decision will require intensive public participation.

All public engagement is coordinated through the Consumer and Community Engagement Unit. The Unit is managed by the Manager of Consumer and Community Engagement who holds Australia’s first Public Certificate in Health Consumer and Community Engagement issued by the University of South Australia.

All engagement begins with knowing why the Network wants to engage with the public and being clear at the beginning how feedback, ideas and suggestions will be used to influence change.

Public Participation upholds the highest levels of health literacy, adapting communication approach to meet our target audience.

Putting the consumer first and creating a Person and Family Centred Care health network requires a triangulation approach to public participation. To make informed decisions literature and staff engagement will be married with consumer and community input.

IAP model

Continuum of Public Participation

Public participation within the WCHN sits on a continuum and there are a number of operational methods which have been adopted to ensure that children, teenagers, women, families and community stakeholders can co-design and create with us (see table). For more information contact the Manager of Consumer and Community Engagement.






Monthly e-Consumer Newsletter

Display Boards in Wards, Units and Community locations

Healthy Focus

School Ambassador Program

Consumer Register and Database.

Consumer and Community Engagement Unit Training and Development Schedule for staff and community

SA Health Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and You TUBE)

Consumer Feedback on Experience Framework

Divisional Listening Posts

Topical Listening Posts

Service Reviews


Q and A Forums

Person and Family Centred Care Network Steering Group

Cultural Round Table

Safety and Quality Committees

Divisional Consumer Advisory Groups like our mental health carers group "ELECT" or community health group "Young People Avisory Group"

Youth-led service Audits

Employing Consumer Representatives to undertake quality improvement tasks and advocacy roles.

Targeted, solution-focused committees for specific projects.

Consumer and Community Partnering Council

Youth Advisory Group

Consumer Feedback and Improvement Group


PDF iconMembership Application Form (433kb)

PDF iconConsumer Database Information (352kb)

PDF iconConsumer Representative Code of Conduct (328kb)

PDF iconConsumer Representative Agreement (237kb)

PDF iconConsumer Representative Confidentiality Agreement (237kb)

Word iconConsumer Feedback Form (141kb)

PDF iconYouth Advisory Group - Poster (1.5mb)

PDF iconYouth Advisory Group - Consent Form for Participation (778kb)

PDF iconKids Klub - Poster (696kb)

last modified: 11 Aug 2016