Kitchen Table Discussions
Kitchen Table Discussions are a consumer engagement methodology used in many different ways to hear community views on varied subjects. Health Consumers Queensland has refined the methodology to ensure diverse voices are heard accurately and clearly.
Since October 2018, Health Consumers Queensland has successfully utilised Kitchen Table Discussions to hear the voice of health consumers and carers who do not normally participate in formal consultation, or feel they have the opportunity to have a say in healthcare policy, decision-making and design. They have also been enablers to reach diverse groups of people, including hard-to-reach and those who are sometimes disadvantaged.
- Consumers lead the consultation not consultants or staff
- Hear directly from the community and in particular, opportunity to hear from those who do not normally participate in health consultation
- Enables access to a broad and diverse cross-section of community
- Consumers feel their voice is heard, and their views valued once feedback loop is closed
- Alleviates consultation overload on consumers
- Allows for impartial discussion and feedback
- Participants and hosts enjoy the process and constantly ask for more of this type of consultation
- Provides valuable stories and comments as part of participant feedback
- Can increase consumer knowledge and awareness of services, as well as supporting their health literacy.
The power of Kitchen Table Discussions is that they are facilitated by consumers, giving the consumer host the opportunity to lead consultation within their own community in a safe, friendly and supportive environment. Health service staff and consultants are not in attendance which allows community to speak openly.
Kitchen Table Discussions also enable individuals and small groups to participate at a time of day, and in a venue that suits them. The host decides the venue, the date and time.
How we can support you
We can help you use Kitchen Table Discussion methodology in your organisation.
Health Consumers Queensland is available to design and deliver Kitchen Table Discussion projects for health-related organisations in Queensland and nationally. We provide consultation and services in all aspects of the Kitchen Table Discussion process including:
- Full project management
- Host toolkit preparation (including support in writing discussion questions and host briefing paper)
- Training, mentoring and support for consumer hosts
- Outcomes data analysis and report writing
- Remuneration and reimbursement of hosts and participants
We also provide training for health-related organisations keen to utilize the methodology to reach their broader communities.
To support organisations undertaking training Health Consumers Queensland has produced a guide on the process we use. This guide draws on Health Consumers Queensland’s experience of facilitating over 200 discussions across Queensland. It provides comprehensive guidance for organisations. In developing the way we use this engagement methodology we have drawn from the experience of other government bodies and organisations internationally.
Our clients include:
The session this morning was wonderful! It’s so exciting to be engaged in something SO meaningful and timely. Many thanks to you for your excellent support!!!
I wanted to let you know that the attendees thought this was the best & most enjoyable session we have had. We had tears & enjoyable conversation but all present thought it was very good & together we all said “let this lead to change”
These are wonderful as always [..] please pass on our gratitude to everyone involved. The information is rich and powerful, much appreciated.
I’ve also heard through the small town feedback loop that the ladies who met for the Kitchen Table Discussion about end of life [… ] are still talking about how meaningful that experience was for them. What a wonderful experience it was for us all!
Establishing a consultative base to inform your work
Consumer Health Forum’s Consumer Link webinar series, Consumers Talking with Consumers
This webinar focused on Health Consumers Queensland’s Kitchen Table Discussion methodology and showcased a 2021 Queensland Health state-wide project – High Benefit Care at the End of Life. The project involved 19 Kitchen Table Discussions and a series of co-design focus groups.
This video gives an overview of the Kitchen Table method from the perspectives of Health Consumers Queensland, a consumer host and a staff member seeking consumer consultation.
Video hosted and shared with kind permission of Consumers Health Forum