Author: 
Michael Greco, Care Opinion Australia
A screenshot of the Care Opinion website

Care Opinion is an independent, not-for-profit new web site which enables people to post their experiences of local social care services online, and in public (eg aged care, youth and disability care). 

The site also enables providers of care to post responses, and show how they are making changes in response to feedback. In this way, the site supports providers in their efforts to improve their service by ‘listening to the consumer voice’. It helps them move beyond the traditional ways of consumer engagement (such as surveys and focus groups), to the new world where the public is now sharing their views about their experience of services. And it does this in a safe, open and transparent way so that everyone benefits from telling and listening to stories.

Here’s an example from RSL Care where they nipped a complaint in the bud, the recipient of care was satisfied, it raised an issue around education and communication with their staff members, and they designed an education session to address it.  Everyone won: the organisation; the care recipient; and the staff (in terms of professional development).

Stories posted on Care Opinion are moderated before publication (to ensure anonymity), and provider organisations are alerted to feedback by email. When responses are posted, Care Opinion emails the author to let them know. Published stories can be read by anyone who visits the site, including users, carers, families and friends.

Care Opinion is about social media, but a safe and moderated format tailored for care services, where care services are protected from having their staff named (and potentially shamed). It’s about getting real time stories to busy staff that can help them understand the perspective of the consumer experience. Whilst social media is very good for social conversations, the Care Opinion site is more about dialogue driving participation and improvement.  You won’t find people that rant and rave on Care Opinion – it just won’t be published. Rather, you will find people who are very positive about their service, as well as people who have something to say that might help improve things.

For more information about how Care Opinion can help your organisation engage effectively with the consumer voice, please contact our office on 07 3354 4525 or email info@careopinion.org.au.

Or if you are a consumer, please go to the Care Opinion website and tell your story to make a difference to the quality of our care services.

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