A brief review of the literature on social prescribing. Social prescribing is a way of linking primary care patients with psycho-social issues, with sources of appropriate, non-medical support in the community. Suitable referrals to social prescribing initiatives are vulnerable and at risk groups such as: people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety; low income single parents; recently bereaved older people; people with long term conditions and frequent attendees in primary and secondary care. The review highlights that prescribed activities have typically included arts and creative activities, physical activity, learning and volunteering opportunities and courses, self-care and support with practical issues such as benefits, housing, debt and employment. The evidence on the impact of social prescribing is currently limited and inconsistent. While some initiatives have shown improved outcomes for patients and potential for cost-savings (in the longer term), few have been subject to economic analysis or the kind of rigorous evaluation which would inform commissioners. The report recommends that any new, local social prescribing initiatives should aim to add to the current evidence base and conduct transparent and thorough.
DAYKIN Norma, JOSS Tim
Guidance on appropriate ways of documenting the impacts of arts for health and wellbeing, whether through small scale project evaluations or large scale research studies. The document suggests a standard framework for reporting of project activities that will strengthen understanding of what works in specific contexts and enable realistic assessment and appropriate comparisons to be made between programmes. Part one provides background discussion to help make sense of the framework and includes a discussion of evaluation principles and practice, encompassing project planning, the role of advocacy and the importance of consultation and stakeholder involvement. In part two the different types of evaluation are outlined, with suggested tools for arts for health and wellbeing evaluation, including outcomes measurement. Part three captures the key components of project delivery, including the nature of the intervention, the populations engaged, the settings where the project takes place, the resources needed to support it, procedures for quality assurance, and the outcomes that the project is designed to achieve. Evaluation details are also sets out to encourage clear identification of important aspects such as rationale, evaluation questions, evaluation design, sampling, data collection and analysis, process evaluation, ethics and consent, reporting and dissemination, evaluation management and the resources needed to undertake evaluation.
This report looks at the scale and impact of loneliness among older people and argues that the arts are a powerful tool to tackle the problem. It suggests that older people need a broad range of opportunities and activities to help them maintain healthy social relationships. These can include care and befriending support, but just as important are opportunities that connect them to their communities, such as faith, learning, fitness, leisure and cultural activities. The arts are an effective way to tackle loneliness but can be overlooked by older people’s services. The report provides some practical actions for this activity to be increased and a list of resources. It contains an appended series of ten case studies drawn from some of the arts organisations currently funded by the Baring Foundation. These illustrate some of the many ways in which the arts can make a difference: in rural locations or in the inner city, in a residential care home, a community or an arts venue, through reinventing the tradition of the tea dance for the 21st century or in a major new festival.