The Partnering with Consumers Plan showcases our work with the community at Northern Health. It describes our progress and achievements. It sets our roadmap for where we want to be and how we will do this.
Our values of Safe, Kind and Together, describe how we aim to work together with our consumers and the community. It tells our community that we value their participation and that we can make a difference, together.
Voice of our consumers
We, as the Northern Health Consumer Network, get to see the great work that this health service does every day. We are passionate about the broader community understanding this, too.
Northern Health’s commitment to participate with its consumer network is not just about being a consumer representative. It is a commitment to consumers, carers, family members, and the community, to participate in decisions about their own health in their health service.
This is why this plan is so important and provides a strong foundation for our continued journey ‘together.’
‘Together’, one of Northern Health’s values committed to in its Strategic Plan is important. However, what does this mean to us as consumers?
For us as consumers on our health care journey, ‘together’ signifies that:
The importance of including Consumers in our work : Examples of our work with consumers.
Case Study 1: Intensive Care Unit building design phase
Jo McKenna, a valued consumer network member, and a wheelchair user, was actively involved in ensuring the design and layout of buildings considers needs of people with disabilities. This might be users of wheelchairs, scooters, walking frames or walking sticks, as well as those with limited vision. All people have the right to easy access to services. Jo brings her lived experience to this role:
- If there is a disabled toilet, can all wheelchairs fit through the doorway?
- Can taps and light switches all be reached?
- How wide are corridors?
- Is there enough space around the bed?
- What height are surfaces?
Consumers and volunteers at Northern Health were involved in all stages of the design process, and provided valuable ideas and suggestions from their experiences at Northern Health and other hospitals.
“To see it from the drawings on the table to how the ICU looks today is just brilliant, as a consumer, it was great to have a voice.” Faye, Consumer
“We were engaged from the start, so it’s very nice to see the finished project we have all contributed to. The hospital really listened to us.” Veronica, Consumer
Case study 2: Developing ‘Staying Well with Diabetes in the North’
In developing a program to support people with diabetes, ‘Staying Well’, Northern Health worked with partners, community and our staff to understand what could really make a difference. Here are some of the steps we took:
Ran an ‘Ideas Lab’ workshop to explore what ‘Staying Well’ means to our partners; the community; and our staff.
Outcome: This helped us understand that ‘Staying Well’ means appreciating the whole person. It’s rarely just about the illness that we are helping with.
Next step – We drafted a program plan and took it to the community
A community member with diabetes told us to stop focusing solely on diet and exercise and think about stress
Outcome: We listened to this suggestion and made sure that psychological and social support was included in the program. A clinical psychologist is now part of the team.
The Staying Well with Diabetes in the North program has been running in the community for a while now, so we want to understand the impact it is having. We are working with consumers to evaluate the program.
Outcome: Having consumers involved in the evaluation will ensure that we are focussing on what is important for people in the program, and that we can show improvements in their health.
Together, we will make a difference.