Better together: Celebrating the important role of consumers


Consumers took centre stage during Human Experience Week as Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) celebrated the significant partnership they have with staff in driving meaningful service delivery.

A consumer panel discussion

Consumers led a panel discussion as part of Human Experience Week

Staff and consumers came together for various events, including online case studies from the Planning Directorate, Nepean Palliative Care, and presenters and panellists at the Health Innovation Forum: Bridging Lived Experience, Health Advocacy, and Healthcare.

The events all highlighted how and why NBMLHD consumers cannot be overlooked when designing models of care at all levels.

Keynote speaker, Harry Iles-Mann a health consumer, leader and advocate, commended staff for embracing their key role in consumer engagement. He shared his mission to be an influential agent for positive transformation of experiences and outcomes of health care by leveraging lived experiences to drive design and decision making.

“There’s an integral role that leadership at every level plays in supporting and enabling staff and consumers to work in partnership. NBMLHD is clearly proud of the consumer representative cohort they support, and they have every right to be,” said Harry.

The impact of this partnership was evident in several inspired projects presented during the Forum.

For example, the District’s Oral Health team shared how video language interpreting within the oral health service means consumers are partners in their own care.

The Nepean Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) shared the Bundle of Care Project, which aims to improve communication between medical teams and families as they move through their service to create a more comfortable and supportive environment for families.

Lithgow Hospital showcased the Tree of Life Project which is elevating the experience of patients living with dementia while supporting meaningful connections and personalising hospital care.

The Forum’s showpiece was a live panel discussion featuring staff and consumers. The discussion highlighted the desire to further strengthen consumer involvement. It emphasised the importance of governance in ensuring safe, high-quality care, and the often-unseen value consumer representatives bring. It also showcased how their suggestions have led to meaningful changes, inspiring others to get involved.

Patient advocate and consumer representative, Caroline Allen emphasised the learning opportunities provided by the Week’s events.

“I hope that staff left the event feeling inspired to engage more with consumers in order to identify gaps in services and ways in which these can be addressed,” said Caroline.

Matt Roger, a passionate consumer representative, encouraged even greater patient involvement.

“Being a health consumer representative leverages lived and living experience to educate the educated, so get involved!” says Matt.

NBMLHD launched their new Consumer and Community Participation Framework at the event. The Framework outlines their commitment to engaging with consumers, families and carers, and the broader community to help shape the future of health care delivery.

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