Consumer and Community 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:
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:
Being treated with dignity
What does the literature say?
The WCHN consumer and community engagement approach is underpinned by:
- the International Association for Public Participation Spectrum for Engagement
- Harts Ladder for engaging children and young people in decision making.
- 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.
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.
last modified: 11 May 2016