Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 31–44

Consumer Participation in Designing Community Based Consumer-Directed Disability Care: Lessons from a Participatory Action Research-Inspired Project

Original Paper


User participation has been embraced worldwide as a means to provide better consumer outcomes in health and community care. However, methodologies to achieve effective consumer engagement at the programme design level have remained under-explored. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a Participatory Action Research (PAR)-inspired methodology used to develop a consumer-directed community care/individualised funding service model for people with disabilities. A retrospective analysis of case notes and internal reports for the first 6 years of an ongoing project were examined. The findings suggest that PAR methodologies need to take into account community development, group support, and capacity building as well as succession planning and risk management issues in order to facilitate the often lengthy policy and project development process. Drawing on these findings, this article discusses five lessons and their methodological implications for PAR in a health or social policy/programme design context.


Participation Action research Consumer-directed care Community disability services Policy development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of NursingDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Social Work and Social PolicyLaTrobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Uniting Care Community Options, Individualised FundingMelbourneAustralia

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