There are various approaches to involving people living with diabetes, ranging from events to surveys, telephone interviews and online user groups. The approach you choose will depend on your organisation, what you are trying to achieve, who you need involve, how much money you have and the time you have to deliver.
The emphasis should be on deciding your aims and taking your approach from those aims, for example where there is a service re-design, you need to decide how to do the user involvement to feed into the service re-design. When you get to the stage of implementation, you need to think ‘What do we need now, is it a different type of involvement that we need to monitor and evaluate the implementation?’
Corinne McCrum, Diabetes UK Project Manager
There are a number of online tools that can help you choose the best method for user involvement. A good example can be found at: www.dialoguebydesign.net/resources/handbook.htm.
In this resource, the focus is on service user groups, sometime known as reference groups, and one-off engagement events. Many of the specific methods for encouraging participation will work within such a structure. To establish which approach is right for you, ask yourself:
'Does the involvement of people need to be ongoing or a one-off?'
If you need people to be involved on an ongoing basis, then you could consider a service-user reference group. This will allow you to build relationships with people, induct them into appropriate ways of working and develop an ongoing dialogue with them. You will find further information in: Delivering involvement: establishing a user group.
If you need to engage people on a one-off basis, to establish what is currently happening with an existing service, or discuss a particular issue, an engagement event in the relevant community could be the most appropriate approach. You will find further information in: Delivering involvement: engagement events.