Customer panels, experts by experience, and OLKA activities
At HUS, patients can influence and participate in the planning, development, and evaluation of our services.
Our trained customer panel members and experts by experience collaborate with our staff in the planning, developing, and evaluating of services. As a member of the research panel, you can influence the research performed at our hospital.
Our clients have the opportunity to participate in developing our patient-oriented care culture, the use of facilities and our services of facilities by acting as a member of the customer panel.
Members to our customer panels are selected by the Joint Authority Administration, the hospital areas, or departments based on the applicants' experience and training. In principle, the term of office of the members of the trained customer panel is approximately two years. We have customer panels operating in all the departments in the Helsinki metropolitan area and in the hospital areas of Raseborg, Hyvinkää, Lohja, and Porvoo.
We strive to develop our practices to increase patient inclusion in accordance with the Magnet Hospital model.
In the Children and Adolescents department, we work closely with our patients and their families.
The family panel, made up of the parents of our patients, brings a child- and family-oriented perspective on the planning and development work of our hospital. The family panels takes a stand on, for example, themes emerging from patient feedback, hospital operating practices, digital services, and patient guidelines.
The members of the panel have personal experience on our hospital’s functions, as their children have been cared for in our various pediatric units. The family panel meets ten times a year and the term of office of the panel members is two or three years.
The members of our research panels include patients and their loved ones, as well as other people interested in our research.
As a member of a research panel, you will receive training for the task, organized in cooperation with the University of Helsinki. If you are already a member in a customer panel or you are an expert by experience, you can also participate in research panels after the further training.
Research panel members present our researchers with questions and insights that researchers can utilize in their studies. As a research panelist, you can provide influence in the different stages of pharmaceutical research and treatment and health-scientific research, from planning to the presentation of research results.
Research panels in HUS
- Emergency Medicine and Services research panel, Coordinator: Marja Mäkinen
- Comprehensive Cancer Center research panel, Coordinator: Marita Repo
- Children and Adolescents research panel, Coordinator: Emmi Liljeström
- Diagnostic Center research panel, Coordinator: Maria Sandberg
- Psychiatry Center research panel, coordinators: Anna-Maarit Penttilä and Timo Laaksonen
- Head and Neck Center research panel, coordinators: Annika Lipponen and Sanna Vesanen
HUS research panel members in training at Biomedicum.
As an expert by experience, you are a person who has completed the training and has first-hand experience of the illness. You can be either a current or former patient, a family member, or another person close to the patient. We select people for the expert by experience training on a case-by-case basis. Through shared expertise, you will participate in the planning and development of our activities.
Experts by experience in HUS: see introductory videos
As an expert by experience, you have the capacity to act:
- as a member in various working groups, steering groups, and executive groups
- in the assessment of services and in research teams
- in the planning of new activities
- as a support person or team leader.
As an expert by experience, you are providing a valuable perspective on the treatment process from the client's point of view. For example, you can be a team leader together with a personnel representative.
For more information, refer to the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health:
Customer inclusion means the participation and influence of service users in their own service and, more broadly, in the brainstorming, design, development, implementation and evaluation of services, chains of services, and service packages.
Further information on the THL website:
Expert tasks based on being an expert by experience receive a fee for their services, and nationwide recommendations are provided by Koulutetut Kokemusasiantuntijat ry (KoKoa ry), an association of trained experts by experience.
OLKA® refers to coordinated organization and volunteering activity in our hospitals. Our activities aim to offer our patients and their loved ones unhurried encounters and support in coming to terms with their illness. OLKA is a partnership activity developed jointly by HUS and HyTe ry.
Associations providing support to patients and loved ones are welcome to share information on their activities and provide peer support at our OLKA service points. Peer support persons of the associations can engage in activities in our hospitals by organizing association theme days at the OLKA service points and by volunteering through OLKA.
Helsinki metropolitan area OLKA service points:
Lohja OLKA service point:
Read more about peer support on the olkatoiminta.fi website
Explore the vertaistalo.fi service of the Health Village online service (Terveyskylä service; currently not available in English).
Watch the video on OLKA volunteer activities (YouTube)
OLKA is coordinated volunteer activities in our hospitals with a focus on unhurried encounters. Our activities aim to offer our patients and their loved ones unhurried encounters and support in coming to terms with their illness.
Approximately 250 volunteers are involved in our activities and we involve new persons throughout the year. Volunteers operate in cooperative wards, OLKA service points, and hospital lobby areas. Volunteer shifts are mainly on weekdays and during the daytime hours. It is also possible to do some tasks in the evenings or during weekends.
Volunteer tasks include acting as a peer support, someone to talk to, and lobby assistant. Peer support persons have first-hand experience of an illness or disability, but other roles are open to volunteers without first-hand experience of an illness or disability. The purpose of volunteers is not to replace the trained professionals working in hospitals.
It is important to have a balanced life situation when acting as a hospital volunteer. We require volunteers to be at least 18 years of age. In volunteer tasks, it is necessary that the volunteer is able to speak fluent Finnish.
Volunteers should have measles and chickenpox vaccinations or to have had these infections previously. In addition, our hospital-based volunteers are required to take the influenza vaccine each year.
Learn more about volunteer work and becoming a volunteer on the olkatoiminta.fi website
“The best thing about volunteering is the feeling that I've been of help to someone. It feels particularly nice when a patient or their family member tells you they have received new information from our brief conversation and something to think about or strength to carry on”, says a peer support volunteer.
Would you be interested in volunteering? Apply and get involved! email@example.com