Our parent company Sustaincare CIC has worked with NHS primary care centres in the UK to develop models of social prescription.
In our models we identified the first key requirement for any successful social prescription initiative:
you need a dedicated facilitator!
The overwhelming requirement of this facilitator is that she or he knows both the practice personnel and the key points of contact among the local community. The facilitator becomes the easy point of contact for the prescriber. The simple social prescription becomes “I think you should go and see …“. This person is a repository of local community facilities: exercise classes, arts and eco-therapies, and can help a patient find the activity that best suited.
This is where the Health Guide becomes a social prescription…
Our community prescription model
It has developed an innovative model of community provision to help fill the growing gap in central health and social care funding.
In our model participants co-produce their own sustained recovery with voluntary and statutory partners in support. Participants take ownership of their own journey. They stop being ‘patients’. They purchase creative or eco-therapy courses or other activities as supported care plans, and evaluate their own progress. The process is overseen by statutory professionals, and facilitated and supported by mentors and support workers. Mentors will later include project graduates.
Participants may be out of work, not sleeping, may be in pain or distress, caring for a loved one, or facing learning or mental health challenges. They are likely to feel alone. In such times they often do need support, of professionals and of his family and community. At the end however it is they who have the greatest opportunity to move on.
Anyone in this system who can support: the practice health facilitator, the community volunteer, the group leader or peer mentor is acting in the role of Health Guide.