What lies beneath: The power of consumer collaboration

Ms Katherine Lawler1

Grade 4 Physiotherapist – Aged & Complex Care, Eastern Health, VIC

Many of us hold ideals about involving patients in their care. We like to think of ourselves as person-centred clinicians, providing treatment and care to patients with their best interests at heart. But working in health comes with all sorts of pressures, meaning truly engaging with patients and their families can be challenging.
In public hospitals we have seen, with the introduction of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards in 2013, a flurry of activity around partnering with consumers to develop and design quality health care. But how we partner with consumers in day to day clinical activity often remains caught in a traditional model of “health professional knows best”.
This presentation aims to provoke thought, debate and personal reflection about how we as health professionals connect meaningfully with the patients and families we encounter in our workplaces. It will explore the application of person centred care and consumer collaboration to clinical practice, drawing largely on findings from research conducted with patients and their families in the Transition Care Program. Outcomes of a qualitative research project exploring involving families in physiotherapy for older people in Transition Care will be shared, as well as preliminary findings of a current randomised controlled trial being conducted at Eastern Health and Northern Health.