Consumer participation is one important way of improving the quality of care and ensuring it is appropriate to patients’ needs.
At Bendigo Health, consumers are encouraged to be involved in decision making about their own care or the care of a loved one. Consumer forums monitor the delivery of services and contribute to planning of future services.
Some active consumer forums at Bendigo Health include:
- Acute Consumer Reference Group
- Carer Support Reference Group
- Case Management Services Client Reference Group
- Psychiatric Services Consumer Participation Group
- Rehabilitation Services Consumer Reference Group
- Resident forums
- Veterans Focus Group
Acute Consumer Reference Group
The Acute Consumer Reference Group (ACRG) is a new group developed as part of the Long Stay Older Patients Project. The group was formed to encourage a two way communication channel between consumers and acute services. The group has a mix of acute health service representatives and a range of
consumer group representatives. The ACRG provides a forum to inform consumers, encourage input from consumers, to promote Bendigo Health services, provide consumer input into quality improvement activities, risk management strategies and environmental improvements. Contact: nursing director surgical services, 5454 7557.
Case Management Services Client Reference Group
The Case Management Services Client Reference Group was formed in 2006 to give feedback about the way in which the service is received by consumers. Meetings are held in Mildura and Bendigo approximately five times per year and recently a group met in Echuca for the first time. Members attend meetings if possible or there is the option of a telephone link.
Client reference group members developed a booklet to help better inform prospective, new and current clients about their experience of case management and the importance of consumers having a say. They were motivated to tell their stories, and the booklet ‘in our own words’ is a culmination of their efforts
Carer Support Reference Group
The Carer Support Reference Group has been running since 2001 and has between four and eight members who represent carers and function as a lobby group.
The group conducts three meetings a year and holds special interest focus groups throughout the year.
The group reviews consumer surveys and publications, identifies gaps in services and keeps a focus on carer issues. It has participated in EQuIP audits and updates and address relevant policies and procedures.
Carer Support Services cover members travel costs and arranges respite care for meeting attendance where necessary.
A recent achievement of the group is the ‘Helpful Hints for Carers’ flyer which has been added to information packs and included in the ‘Carers Quarterly’ newsletter.
Psychiatric Services Consumer Participation Group
A consumer participation group was established within the Loddon Campaspe region in 2008.
The consumer participation group promotes consumer participation in regards to planning, implementation and evaluation of Bendigo Health psychiatric services.
The group meets on a monthly basis and was formed to co-ordinate and strengthen consumer participation within the region and consists of consumers and mental health representatives. Consumers are invited annually to apply for a position within the group and are paid for attendance at meetings.
Rehabilitation Services Consumer Reference Group
The Rehabilitation Services Consumer Reference Group is a committee of 10 past and present patients, staff, family and friends share an interest in rehabilitative care at Bendigo Health.
Recent achievements have been the development of a brochure which is available to patients and outlines the support the group can give to clients. A Playstation 2 has been purchased to assist the younger clients in the inpatient unit complement their rehabilitative programs and scooter charge point has been installed in Perrin Plaza on to allow clients to charge up if they wish to visit to attend the Anne Caudle Centre campus by their machines.
Veterans Focus Group
The group meets four times a year with excellent attendance. Members come from various groups such as Bendigo RSL, Navalmens Association, Ex Servicemen’s Association and Vietnam Veterans Association.
The group has three volunteer hospital visitors who visit veterans in wards and rehabilitation and provide feedback to the organisation about veterans' in care.
The group has addressed issues regarding designated veterans parking spaces and emergency packs for veterans' attending the emergency department. These packs contain information on admission and discharge from Department of Veterans’ Affairs website, contact details, basic toiletries and a pen and pad (provided by RSL).
Guest speakers from Bendigo Health departments are invited to the Veterans' Focus Group meetings.
Bendigo Health Residential Aged Care Forums promote open and effective communication between residents/representatives and staff.
The forum provides an opportunity of residential services to exchange information, discuss services provided, identify and action issues and work collaboratively towards improving standards in resident care.
The objectives include:
- To encourage residents and their representatives to play a central role in decision making and initiating change to improve resident care
- To assist in the effective management of residential services by providing useful and relevant information to residents on which issues can be discussed and upon which decisions can be based
- To maintain a service that is resident focused
- To report and update resident’s/representatives on risk management, safe practice, compliments and concerns, accreditation and quality improvement initiatives and activities
- To report on progress on the Bendigo Health residential services stream and individual business plans (related to the Bendigo Health strategic plan)
- To receive feedback and evaluate on the forum’s recommendations which have resulted in changes in practice.
Meetings are usually monthly or bi-monthly, involving residents and/or their representatives, nurse manager, nursing staff from facility and lifestyle staff.