THOMSON Linda J., CAMIC Paul M., CHATTERJEE Helen J.
Sets the scene for the conditions under which social prescribing has arisen and considers the efficacy of different referral options. Social prescribing is a non-medical intervention linking patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-clinical services. The review provides definitions, models and notable examples of social prescribing schemes and assesses the means by which and the extent to which these schemes have been evaluated. Models outlined in this review include: Arts on Prescription, Books on Prescription, Education on Prescription, Exercise on Prescription, Green Gyms, Healthy Living Initiatives, Information Prescriptions, Museums on Prescription, Social Enterprise Schemes, Supported Referral, and Time Banks. The report makes recommendations for practice, policy and future research, focusing on best practice guidance for sector workers, frameworks for setting up social prescribing schemes, and methods for evaluating social prescribing schemes.
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.