eAlert: A marathon not a sprint

Do you remember back in April, when Annastacia Palaszczuk was telling Queenslanders that containing COVID-19 was going to be “a marathon, not a sprint”?  Fast forward to the last few weeks in August, we are watching what is unfolding in Victoria and New South Wales, continuing to have concerning cases appear in Queensland and coming to accept that this is not all going to be ‘all over by Christmas’.

Indeed, one consumer remarked how people keep talking about ‘’post-COVID”, when really we all need to be focusing on how the health system and consumers can be supported to maintain and access regular health services and care, alongside sustaining a constant state of readiness for COVID-19 outbreaks, care and containment.

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A COVID-19 vaccine: Health consumers’ views

Although a vaccine for COVID-19 is not yet available, it’s high on the news agenda this week and keenly anticipated.

According to peer-reviewed research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, we need up to 80% vaccination to ensure herd immunity.  Yet the results of an Australian study in April showed that 14% of Australian adults would reject or were unsure about having a COVID vaccine. It’s also likely that some people will be ineligible for the vaccine for medical reasons.

This week Health Consumers Queensland asked health consumers from its COVID-19 Community of Interest:

  • How could the population be encouraged to be vaccinated?
  • What would you need to know before deciding whether or not to get a vaccination?
  • What would motivate or stop you from getting one?

Read the full issues paper here >

A COVID-19 vaccine: What would help you decide?

A vaccine for COVID-19 remains keenly anticipated by many Australians as a way of releasing us from ongoing restrictions and protecting us from infection outbreaks.
According to peer-reviewed research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, a vaccination rate of 80% is needed to ensure herd immunity to COVID-19.  A motivated population is clearly vital to an immunisation programme’s success, yet the scale, urgency and unknowns of such a programme are causing concern to some health consumers as they consider choosing to have a vaccine if and when one becomes available.

Consumer engagement in Victoria and NSW: Lessons learned during COVID-19

Here in Queensland, Health Consumers Queensland is uniquely positioned to amplify the consumer voice. We are fortunate to work with a Government, health department and health services that welcome consumer engagement and values the consumer voice.  Importantly, this commitment is matched by action, not just lip service, with consumer/HCQ participation facilitated at almost every level of decision making in health, and our organization being funded to pivot our work to support the response to COVID-19.

We invited the CEOs of our equivalent state health consumer peaks, Danny Vadasz, CEO of Health Issues Centre in Victoria and Anthony Brown from Health Consumers NSW to join a conversation with our CEO Melissa Fox, to share their perspectives on their Government and Health Departments’ engagement with consumers during COVID-19 at our regular Consumer Conversation session on Monday, 10 August 2020.

The views shared by Danny and Anthony made for “a sobering session” and prompted key questions around:

  1. Valuing consumer engagement at every level.
  2. Recognising that a consumer’s lived experience IS data.
  3.  How to be responsive to communities.

> Read the issues paper here.

Consumer engagement in Victoria and NSW during COVID-19: Lessons learned

Here in Queensland, Health Consumers Queensland is uniquely positioned to amplify the consumer voice. We are fortunate to work with a Government, health department and health services that welcome consumer engagement and values the consumer voice.  Importantly, this commitment is matched by action, not just lip service, with consumer/HCQ participation facilitated at almost every level of decision making in health, and our organization being funded to pivot our work to support the response to COVID-19.
While this engagement and action has by no means been perfect and in every part of the system, it has been this openness by those in the health system to listen to consumers and act, which has set our State’s response apart from the majority of the rest we heard at this week’s Consumer Conversation.

Encouraging COVID-19 testing throughout Queensland

Testing remains one of Queensland’s best defences against a sustained outbreak of COVID19.   A Consumer Conversation on Tuesday 28 July 2020 focused on the top barriers to testing, how the process can be made easier and what the key messages are that would motivate people to get a COVID-19 test. 

Fear, uncertainty, confusion, mis-interpretation of information and complacency are currently the over-arching barriers to testing across the state.  Consumers are looking for a clear and unambiguous testing pathway which is convenient, supportive, nuanced and needs-focused.

Read the issues paper

eAlert: Communicating effectively with residents and families

Following the lockdown of residential aged care facilities across South Brisbane and in the Moreton Bay region last week, Health Consumers Queensland and a consortium of six NGOs (including COTA Queensland, Queenslanders with Disability Network, ADA Australia, Palliative Care Queensland and CarersQLD) co-designed a single checklist and provided a series of resources to enable residential care facilities to communicate effectively with residents and families during an outbreak.

As part of this work, Jo Smethurst facilitated a training session to help facility managers understand the importance of communicating well when/if COVID-19 impacts their facility, and develop a comprehensive communications plan to enable them to be responsive to the individual needs of residents and families. This training session was part of a week-long training series led by the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in Queensland Health.

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