Engaging with Young Health Consumers
Thousands of young people access health services across Queensland, both those specific to young people as well as adult-oriented services. Despite this, young people are often not involved in decision-making processes for the design, development and implementation of health services they access.
Youth Engagement Framework
Health Consumers Queensland is proud to have developed the Amplifying the Youth Voice: Health Consumers Queensland Youth Engagement Framework in partnership with young health consumers. The Framework is a starting point for improving and increasing engagement of young health consumers in the Queensland health system and beyond, with the aim of better health services for young people and a health ecosystem that values the voice and involvement of young people.
Youth Engagement Project
The Health Consumers Queensland Youth Engagement project aimed to provide a strategic approach to amplify the voices of young health consumers in the development and delivery of health services across Queensland. The project brought together 24 young people, the Youth Reference Group, from across Queensland, to guide and work together on three main deliverables:
- Engagement with young people across Queensland about their experience of COVID-19, the barriers to engagement, and priorities for health services.
- The development of a young health consumers network for Queensland.
- A strategy aimed at increasing engagement with young people in the development and delivery of health services.
Youth Reference Group
An initial call for expressions of interest received nearly 30 applications from young people in Queensland. Although the first plan was a for a group of 6-8 young people to lead the project, the level of interest led to the decision to review the budget in order to include all young people interested in participating.
The majority of those participating in the Youth Reference Group are from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, as well as Central Queensland (Charleville and Blackall) and North Queensland (Townsville).
The lived experience of the group was broad with 14 young people identifying as having a disability or chronic condition, eight young people who identified as LGBTIQ+ and six young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Two young people identified as being from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
The Youth Reference Group’s activity concluded in July 2021
Brainstorming the Engagement Strategy
The Youth Reference Group came together online to brainstorm the engagement strategy. Using Trello as a tool, the group used a ‘sticky note’ approach to coming up with bluesky objectives, aims, a vision, actions and outcomes. They then refined these in the online Slack channel, paving the way for the final vision, Framework and the Action wishlist.
Youth-led Kitchen Table Discussions
The Youth Reference Group members facilitated six Kitchen Table Discussions (KTDs) in their communities with the purpose of hearing from young people across Queensland about their experience of COVID-19, the barriers to engagement and priorities for health services. Overall 29 people participated in the KTDs. The average age of participants was approximately 22 years. Their health experiences were varied.
A number of themes emerged including:
- health literacy
- inclusive care
- access and affordability of services and
- key topics like sexual health and mental health
Our Kitchen Table Discussion report describes the high level results from the Kitchen Table Discussions and the co-design process we used. There are quotes from young people about the barriers they experience, access to services, their view on the changes to services during COVID-19 and what young people want from health services.
Conducting a Youth Poll
In parallel with the Kitchen Table Discussions, the Youth Reference Group conducted a brief online Youth Poll in December 2020.
The poll was conducted using Google Forms, and was accompanied by a video with voiceover instructions (completed by YRG member Breanna Medcalfe) and was promoted on the HCQ eAlerts and the Facebook page as well as emailed to key stakeholders. The poll was open from late November to mid-December 2020.
There were a total of 30 responses from young people aged between 16 and 25 years. There were 12 views of the video.
The full Youth Poll results can be found here including the barriers young people experience when accessing health services, their ideas about what should be prioritised for young people and what they’re looking for in health services.
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