What is social prescribing?
An individual’s health is determined is not only determined by medical issues and needs, but also by a range of social, economic and environmental factors. This can include social isolation, making lifestyle changes to lose weight or manage a long-term condition, feeling stressed or having housing or benefits related issues.
Social prescribing is part of the NHS Long Term Plan to improve personalised care across the health and care system. Personalised care means people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered, based on ‘what matters’ to them and their individual strengths and needs. Social prescribing is one of the 6 components of universal personalised care.
There are many different models for social prescribing, but many involve a Social Prescribing Link Worker, health coach or navigator who works with people to access local sources of support. In Gloucestershire these can be generally broken down into two slightly different, but over lapping social prescribing roles. These are The Community Wellbeing (CWS) Social Prescribing service and the Social Prescribing Link Worker (SPLW).
• CWS social prescribing – tend to be based in a community setting and run by different commissioned organisations across the county. Individuals can self-refer or be referred into the service.
• SPLW social prescribing – tend to be based in GP practices and will typically only see patients that have been referred to them by GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services.
Additionally, different types of social prescribers may work with specific population groups. For example, Children & Young People Social Prescribers tend to work with families and younger people.
How does social prescribing work?
Social prescribing aims to work with individual’s in a holistic way to help them make positive life changes and take greater control of managing and improving their own health and wellbeing.
In a primary care setting, most people are referred to the social prescribing service via a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
The social prescriber will typically work with an individual to find out what matters to them and help identify any issues and challenges that they would like to address. This will often involve creating a joint personalised action plan to help them address the wider and often non-clinical issues that may be impacting their health and wellbeing.
Depending on an individual’s needs, the social prescriber may signpost or refer a person to a range of activities, opportunities and support from a wide range of organisations, especially those who are locally based or voluntary and community sector organisations. This could include:
• Social activities and befriending
• Housing and benefits support
• Walking, well-being and fitness groups
For full details surrounding Personalised Care, please click here.
Alongside Social Prescribing Link Workers, additional personalised care roles in primary care may also include Care Coordinators and Health Coaches. They can all work together and in partnership with other professionals as part of the general practice team and part of a wider multiagency integrated team. These three roles work to enable people to develop the skills and confidence to manage their own health and wellbeing. An overview of the roles can be:
Social Prescribing Link Worker
Address the wider determinants of physical and mental health such as poor housing, debt, stress and loneliness
Work collaboratively with a variety of local partners and connect people to local community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support and to activities that promote health and wellbeing
Central point of contact
Support a patient through their care journey
Support people to understand and manage their condition
Help people to prepare for or follow up from clinical conversations they have with primary care professionals
To access full information on the Care Coordinator role, please click here.
Health & Wellbeing Coach
Highly skilled in coaching and behavioural change
Support people to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence to become active participants in looking after their own health
Support people to reflect on and change their health-related behaviours
Help people reach their self-identified health and wellbeing goals
To access full information on the Health & Wellbeing Coach role, please click here.
The below short animation explains what Social Prescribing is, how it works and the benefits to individuals’ health and wellbeing.
Additional Resources to help build a full picture of the Social Prescribing Link Worker role
|https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/social-prescribing-summary-guide-updated-june-20.pdfPersonalised Care what is social prescribing?||This leaflet has been designed for practice staff to give to people who have been referred to a social prescribing link worker. It explains what social prescribing is and what the link worker will|
|Social Prescribing Link Worker welcome pack – version for download||An induction guide for social prescribing link workers in primary care networks.|
|Social Prescribing Link Worker welcome pack – web version||An induction guide for social prescribing link workers in primary care networks.|
|Social prescribing and community-based support: Summary guide||The Social Prescribing Summary Guide is intended for people and organisations leading local implementation of social prescribing. It enables:|
Increased understanding of what good social prescribing looks like and why social prescribing improves outcomes and experiences for people, their families and carers, as well as achieving more value from the system
Commissioning of local social prescribing connector schemes, enabling all general practices, local authorities and other agencies to refer people with wider social needs to community-based support
Collaborative working amongst all local partners at a ‘place-based’ local level, to recognise the value of community groups and assets and to enable people to build or rebuild friendships, community connections and a sense of belonging, as well as accessing existing services.
|Social prescribing link workers: Reference guide for primary care networks||Information on setting up social prescribing services including support for recruitment, induction and supervision. It also outlines what quality assurance measures are necessary, and how information can be gathered to help develop a consistent evidence base for social prescribing.|
Shared Decision Making Awareness Webinar
Social Prescribing Partnership Working
Social Prescribing: Key ingredients of the community link worker model
Video outlines the role of the link worker, or community support coordinator, who bridges primary care and the voluntary and community sector to refer patients to a menu of local services that will enhance their health and wellbeing.
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