Service User Involvement: Development of a Communication Strategy between Service users and Senior Management in a Healthcare Voluntary Organisation.
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The project focused on national and international best practice guidelines on service user involvement, service user involvement has become buzz words in health and social care settings in the past decades. Third sector not for profit services are competing for survival i.e. on how best to get service users involved in the day to day service planning. The project aimed at developing a communication strategy between senior management and service users in a third sector not for profit organization, providing services to adults with intellectual disabilities and mental health difficulties. Changes in legislation and the introduction of a regulatory body (HIQA) Health Information and Quality Authority in Ireland, in the field of health and social care, has resulted in health care organizations across Ireland to look for effective ways to work hand in hand (partnership) with the people receiving services. Traditionally services were designed by the providers, but current trends and regulatory requirements have seen service users in the driving seat. Using the HSE change model monthly residential service users meetings were introduced. Senior management attends these meetings on a quarterly basis. It was discovered that if not carefully managed these meetings will become either paper based activity (tokenistic approach) or used to secure funding. The HSE change model was used to implement change process because it is current, local, user friendly, and relevant model to the subject matter. When done for the right reasons service user involvement can be empowering and can improve the quality of life of the service users.