Consumer and Community Engagement at Eastern Health
Why do we value partnership with consumers and carers?
All around Australia consumers (patients, carers, families and the community) are getting involved in health organizations and services. Consumers are people who currently use our health services and community members who may need to in the future. They are sharing their experiences as users of health services, commenting on consumer and carers’ issues and becoming active partners in design, planning and evaluation of health services.
Eastern Health has adopted the following definitions, based predominantly on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ Doing it with us not for us policy (2006):
refers to individuals who have used or are current users of an Eastern Health service. Consumers can be patients, clients or residents of an Eastern Health service. This includes children, women and men, people living with a disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, socio-economic status and social circumstances, sexual orientations, health and illness conditions.
refers to families and friends providing unpaid care to consumers.
refers to groups of people who have interests in the development of an accessible, effective and efficient health service that best meets their needs.
the meaningful involvement of consumers, carers and community members in decision-making about health policy and planning, care and treatment, and the wellbeing of themselves and the community. Participation involves having a say, thinking about why others believe what they believe, and listening to the views and ideas of others. There are five types of participation: information; consultation; partnership; delegation and control.
Consumers bring a unique perspective to Eastern Health and this is important to us. We need to know what is important to our community in order to help make Eastern Health a health service that meets your needs. Consumers can draw on their own experience of many things:
- a health condition you are affected by
- your experience of using a health service
- your experience as a carer, family member or friends of a health service consumer
- your participation within the local community
Consumers working on our committees contribute to improving health outcomes for their entire community. Their work and leadership is all about bringing positive change to our organisation.
The role of consumers on committees is to:
- Present the consumer perspective
- Contribute consumer experiences
- Ensure consumer concerns are raised
Areas where our consumer representatives often help us include:
- developing patient information, such as brochures
- planning improvements and changes in how we provide services
- being part of our discussions on quality, safety and patient experience
- helping with staff training and recruitment
To ensure that Eastern Health involves consumers, carers and community members in as many ways as possible we have developed a Participation & Responsiveness Plan entitled Partnering with our Consumers, Carers & Community. You can access the plan via the links below and read our annual progress reports.
- Community Participation Plan 2021 - 2023 (PDF, 700KB)
- Community Participation Plan 2021 - 2023 Accessible Word Version (DOC, 268KB)
Supporting and Celebrating our Diverse Community