The participation and opinions of consumers and their carers is absolutely critical to the development and delivery of effective mental health care.
Clinicians and case managers should always seek to promote the viewpoints and facilitate the involvement of consumers at every stage in their journey to recovery.
The Department of Health & Human Services has developed a series of user-friendly brochures, in multiple languages, on the various outcome measurement tools used in Victoria.
These brochures can help clinicians to explain the use and purpose of specific outcome measures, and how they can be used to evaluate improvements in a consumer’s mental health – or areas where further support may be required.
Encouraging consumers to complete self-assessments
Consumer outcomes provide a vital framework for consumer participation, and self-assessment questionnaires are a particularly effective tool for encouraging open and frank discussion between consumers, carers and clinicians.
The ratings from self-assessments provide a unique opportunity for clinicians and consumers to examine specific aspects of their progress, and to evaluate future treatment and care options.
When offering a consumer self-assessment, it is important to explain why it is being offered and how the information will be used. It should also be explained that completion of a self-assessment is entirely voluntary.
Providing information to consumers and carers
Consumers and carers should always be provided with comprehensive verbal and written information on outcome measures to enable them to make informed decisions about their participation. This material should include:
- how information will be collected and documented
- how feedback will be provided by the clinician
- the consumer’s rights to privacy and confidentiality
- who will be able to access the information in future
- relevant complaints processes
- any consumer and carer programs, for example, consumer advisory groups.
Adequate provision of this information may go some way to allaying consumers’ concerns or uncertainty about outcome measures.
Wherever possible, the provision of information should be in the consumer’s preferred language.