The participation of adult service users, including older people, in developing social care
Practice - Networking and support
As a service user, you can feel isolated, so it is a good opportunity to meet other service users. That in itself, can be very empowering whatever the meeting was about. It is good when they allow time for service users to network with each other. (Service user)
- Service user organisations and individual service users can be, and often are, isolated, with little knowledge of, or contact, with other service user organisations, locally, regionally or nationally (Branfield & Beresford, 2006).
- Developing systems for peer support can help avoid consultation fatigue or burnout and enables service users who have less experience in participation to benefit from the support of those who are more experienced.
- Many service users feel that networking is a key route to strengthening service user knowledge and increasing its credibility and visibility, both in services and policy and among service users and service user organisations.
See Practice Example for Leonard Cheshire.
- Where service users have been involved over a fixed period of time, such as helping on a time-limited project, it is important to think about creating a positive ending, such as completing a final report or having a celebratory meal (Porter et al., 2006).