Researchers from the Caring Futures Institute have won a video competition to share their idea on improving health and social care systems at the Consumers Health Forum of Australia Virtual Summit next month.
Caring Futures Institute researcher Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza and two of her consumers/co-researchers Penelope Macmillan, and Ricky Buchannan created a video about using telehealth and social prescribing for Frail, Homebound and Bedridden People (FHBP) in Australia.
Social prescribing is when health professionals refer patients to non-clinical services and supports – such as a community group or activity – to improve their health and wellbeing.
Their Consumers Health Forum of Australia video, to be revealed and discussed at the summit with Ellen Fanning from ABC TV show The Drum, was chosen as one of five videos to be presented via Zoom to attendees.
The virtual summit, run by consumer health care advocacy group Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF), aims to generate fresh thinking for consumer-centred health care and consumer leadership.
Dr Pinero de Plaza and the two consumers/co-researchers Ms Macmillan, and Ms Buchannan explain that FHBP are Australians who live with complex, incapacitating, and debilitating illnesses or injuries that unify them under these crucial characteristics: being trapped and unable to leave home.
They say many FHBP are excluded from healthcare and support services because although they are homebound, they are not considered as persons living with disabilities.
The CFI team says that technology must be combined with a person-centered approach and a culture of care service that gives visibility to the needs and voices of marginalised FHBP in Australia.
“After COVID 19, we are more aware of the benefit of digital technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers to enable healthcare delivery (i.e. telehealth),” Dr Pinero de Plaza says.
“However, telehealth services were cut (without consultation with FHBP) and currently, telehealth is only available for those who have attended a face-to-face appointment in the last 12 months.”
The team is investigating and measuring the best ways to work with health consumers and GPs, nurses, allied health and service administrators to implement technological solutions for FHBP and many other Australians.
“We are involving consumers and other end-users to adapt and test telehealth solutions,” Dr Pinero de Plaza says.
“Together we can find optimal ways of informing change and influencing the creation of policies that respond positively to Australians’ health, care & socio-technological demands.”
The Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF) 2021 Summit: ‘Shifting Gears’, held virtually from 17-19 March, will be the first Australian and New Zealand conference focussed on consumer leadership and experience in health care and will draw together consumers and other leaders from the sector.
Read more on Dr Pinero de Plaza’s study into the experiences of the homebound population in Australia.