The essence of social prescribing is the involvement of health professionals (primary care physicians, physiotherapists, nurses) in order to identify potentially lonely elderly and / or dependent persons and refer them to locally available services or events dedicated to these groups.
It is about opening the communication channel with people for whom a doctor’s visit is often the only motivation to leave the house and meet someone in person. It is an opportunity for them to find out what is happening in the area, to talk to someone in the waiting room face to face, feel taken care of and noticed at the reception desk and by the medical staff. This is the channel one can use to give seniors the “Prescription for life” – information on available activities in the area supported with medical indication to take part in chosen events. The mechanism of social prescription assumes that for people the authority of a doctor or medical staff is motivating enough to take up an activity and free themselves from a feeling of loneliness – the main goal of this undertaking.
The project is innovative and unusual in Poland, but such solutions have already been tested and found to be effective in the UK, as part of the campaign to end loneliness carried out by AGEUK (Campaign to End Loneliness). Similar mechanisms of “social prescribing” were also implemented in the standards of medical practice in France. There are projects not only for seniors, but also for other age groups.
The first local government in Poland has already implemented the idea of social prescribing. We can say the project has been a great success: over 20% of patients who received prescriptions, took part in the recommended local activities, and their percentage continues to grow.
The aforementioned success of testing the innovation may be shared by other local governments or health care institutions, thanks to a proven model of action that will soon be available online or which can be implemented with the support of the originator and coordinator of innovation – PCG Polska.
The presentation will present the multidimensional benefits of the implementation of social prescribing.
It is therefore addressed to representatives of local governments, non-governmental organizations and health care institutions (both private and public) who would like to implement a similar mechanism to activate residents in their municipality or patients/clients/target groups in their area of activities – alone or with support from PCG Polska.
Social prescriptions can become a hallmark of the local institutions and health facilities offer.