Authors: Karen Wallace, Linda Blanchard and Birgit Apschner, NSW
Event: 2006 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Partnerships, Families & Older People, CONSUMER ROLES, ADVOCACY,INNOVATIONS,OLDER PEOPLES MENTAL HEALTH
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The Catherine Mahoney Aged Care Psychiatry and Neurosciences Unit at St Joseph’s Hospital is dedicated to the care of aged consumers with mental health illness and/or neurodegenerative conditions. An independent external Consumer Consultant has been actively involved in our service since January 2002 for the purposes of providing objective face-to-face dialogue for consumers, providing guidance to enhance consumer-staff partnerships and ultimately for improving service delivery. We describe the development and expansion of our Consumer Consultant role which commenced with the ‘Consumer Participation Questionnaire’. Evaluation of questionnaire responses has resulted in increased consumer activities including education groups. We are committed to consumer participation and evaluation of service through the process of the quality cycle as a method for supporting and delivering better outcomes. The results of our study have implications for broader issues such as the attitudes of older persons to mental health matters and their help-seeking behaviours.