Oral Health Oral Health

Consumer and Community Engagement

Welcome to the Consumer and Community Participation intranet webpage for SDH. The purpose of this page is to provide useful information about the SLHD Community Participation program and enable staff to easily partner with consumers (patients, families and carers).

Consumer and community participation is about involving people who use health services, in decisions about the provision of health care to both, individuals and at a community level. There is substantial evidence to support the importance of involving consumers in the planning and operation of health services. When the community is actively involved it contributes to improved health care and health services that are transparent, accountable and reliable. Effective community participation can also lead to improved health outcomes for the community.

We have included resources and guides for your use in ensuring you are able to partner with your patients, families, friends and carers in their own care.

Community Participation (CP) Definitions:

Consumer: A consumer is defined as anyone who is an actual or potential user of health care such as a patient in a hospital, a client who visits a community health centre or a person who goes to their doctor for treatment. The term also includes a person's family, friends or carers. A consumer is anyone who uses our services.

Community: is made up of groups of individuals with shared qualities, ideas, characteristics and interests. These may include culture, language, religion, beliefs, geographic location, gender or profession. Individuals may identify with more than one community and may represent a variety of interests. We use the word community when talking about a group of people.

Engagement: activities that involve people who use health services (consumers or communities) in decision making, policy development, service delivery, evaluation and research.

Partnership: refers to a collaborative relationship between consumers and clinicians or the health service organisation. Partnerships with consumers can exist in different ways in a health service organisation, including at an individual level with a clinician; at the level of a service, department or program; and at the level of the organisation. They can also exist with consumers and groups in the community.

Consumer Representative: is a person who volunteers their time and provides a consumer perspective, contributes consumer experiences, advocates for the interests of current and potential health service users, and take part in decision-making processes. This can take place at the organisation or departmental level.

Dedicated Community Participation staff: Each facility within SLHD has a designated Community Participation Coordinator (CPC) whose role is to support staff to actively engage and partner with consumers. Your CPC manages and supports the recruitment, training and maintaining of the facility’s health consumers (consumer representatives) to ensure they are actively and meaningfully engaged. Engagement can occur in many forms and can be at the organisational, service, department or bedside with your patients.

Concumer centred Care

There are a multitude of ways we can engage our consumers both formally and informally. Consumers can be involved in community participation by informal everyday conversations with you.

Examples of how staff can engage consumers (Individual level)

There are various ways staff can involve consumers at the chairside:

  • Involve your patients in Care Plans and decisions about their care
  • Involving your patients in clinical handover
  • Promotion of ‘You said, we did’ in your department
  • Asking your patients “What matters to them?” and documenting this and acting on it
  • Having a patient be an active member of your project working party team
  • Being involved in department working groups
  • Having your patients involved in departmental committees
  • Having your patients complete a survey and having their feedback acted upon
  • Having your patients provide feedback on ways to improve access to services
  • Having a group of your patients involved in a focus group regarding your service
  • Displaying results of satisfaction surveys
  • Having a patient-led peer support patient education program

This list is not exhaustive and can include other different ways you engage consumers in your department.

Examples of how your department or service can engage Consumers

  • Recruiting of official consumer representatives for your service or department or support from SDH Consumer and Community Advisory Network (CCAN).
  • Consumers training the clinical workforce by sharing their stories
  • Departmental or service Clinical Redesign projects
  • Departmental quality Improvement projects
  • Clinical research at the service level

Examples of how Consumers are engaged at the organisational and/or Facility level

  • Consumer and Community Advisory Committees (CCAN)
  • Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs)
  • Community Consultation Forums, Community Focus Groups
  • SLHD Research
  • Working Groups
  • Consumer membership on organisational and advisory committees (e.g. Clinical Council, Patient Care Committee)
  • Consumer groups feeding into strategic planning forums

For formal engagement, consumers will need to join SDH Consumer and Community Advisory Network (CCAN) Committee. The committee meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday of every month from 2:00 pm- 4:00pm.

Please contact our Consumer Participation Coordinator for additional information. Furthermore, additional support can be provided to facilitate engagement with your local consumer group by attending a consumer network monthly meeting. Please contact our CPC to schedule your attendance at the next consumer network meeting.

SDH Community Participation Coordinator (CPC)
Ms Eugenia Szuba
(T): 02 9293 3395 (M): 0405 658 876
Email: eugenia.szuba@health.nsw.gov.au

For more information please visit the SLHD Consumer and Community Participation website by following the link below: