The many roles of a consumer

The consumer has a number of potential roles in health care:

• to play an active part in self-care as far as his or her capacity allows;

• to work together with professionals in his/her own care and in the care of others in the family, the workplace and the locality;

• to communicate to health professionals and the healthy community the points of view, needs and wishes of people affected by a disease;

• to take part with professionals in the development and governance of health institutions (for example hospitals and nursing homes) and organisations, such as providers of primary care;

• to contribute to research policy and practice by helping to decide research priorities and funding, and helping to improve the design of research;

• to help recruit participants for worthwhile research;

• to contribute their own experiences of illness for the information and education of other patients and of professionals.

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