Social Prescribing supports prevention and self-care, promoting independence and enabling people to take early action on non-medical issues. It can help people to build social networks, keep them healthy, reduce the need for medical care, and address loneliness and social isolation. It is an integral component of the transformation and integration of health and care services.
Encompass is working with Red Zebra who attend the Community Hub meetings. Their role is to make connections between the social issues which may be presenting and the community services on offer locally. Essentially, to offer interventions which avoid those issues becoming medical ones.
Case study 1
Mr & Mrs M have been married for over 50 years. Mrs M was diagnosed with dementia over 5 years ago and Mr M has been her carer ever since. Mrs M also has a carer visit daily to help her with personal care and give her husband some respite care. Her husband then accesses carer support.
By being referred to the CHOC integrated care management programme, a social prescriber was able to recognise on hearing the case, that the couple would benefit from a social activity they could both enjoy – rather than being treated separately and clinically as ‘patient’ and ‘carer’. They were signposted to a film club which catered for people with dementia and they could enjoy together. The CHOC team identified not just the physical needs of the patient and carer, but the social ones allowing ‘whole person’ treatment. The holistic approach takes into account the support network around the patient. If a carer becomes ill or stressed the patient has a higher likelihood of acute admission.
The professional’s perspective – Jenny Walsh, Red Zebra
The Social Prescribing Co-ordinators who have attended the CHOCS on and off for 9 months. The CHOC’s are an excellent model for multidisciplinary working relationships, bringing together primary and secondary health care professionals with the charity sector, sharing information on patients who have needs that span across more than one specialism or sector.
Our role within the CHOC’s is to be the voice of the voluntary sector, and it’s the co-ordinators job to know what is available in the areas we work in and specific activity / service providers. We feel it’s important to be ‘seen’ in these meetings as a partner in facilitating services and care to patients who are brought to the meetings. We have managed to change some minds about the role of the ‘social prescription’ and we feel it’s important to demonstrate just how important the social side of everyone’s life is in to todays disconnected society. Positive social impact will have positive health outcomes.
Mrs S was known to a number of agencies and had been for some time, she had various Long Term Conditions and was getting forgetful. She had recently moved into sheltered accommodation and didn’t feel that she was coping. She is lonely and would like to get out and about more socially and make a permanent move to a care home.
- Whitstable Age UK for benefits check,
- Faversham Age UK for Advocacy Service,
- Age UK Herne Bay for Day Centre Services,
- Red Zebra Transport service re. attending medical appointments and transport to and from Day Centre.
- Befriending service.
- Back to surgery via HSCC re. continence Service.
- Social Services re. potential move to a care home
- Integrated Community Equipment Service re. a perch stool
– Red Zebra have now been involved in referring 164 patients (as at end May 2017) to different services. The highest reason for referral continues to be social Isolation then in descending order, health condition, carer needs, mobility, exercise, depression and housing.