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Social Prescribing: Sign-posting the road to good health

Many issues that influence our health can't be resolved by using just drugs or doctors. These factors could be debt, loneliness, stress brought on by tight budgets or subpar housing, or caring responsibilities. We all experience times in our life when we require a little more help. Many people discover they can reach out to services on their own, BUT there are occasions when we can't for various reasons. Issues with money or health, difficulties with communication or culture, or simply having no idea where to begin. As GP’s there is a way to signpost these services for patients and the answer is “social prescribing”. Through social prescribing, people can access non-medical assistance to deal with these problems and many other unmet needs.

Using our EK Interactive Health Kiosk within the waiting area of your surgery, patients can be led to third parties by signposting additional assistance based on the individual's own personal readings and answers. For example…

- helping a lonely person join a buddy group, an art class, or a neighbourhood gardening project, depending on what suits them.

- helping a person with dementia join a dementia choir so they can continue to feel socially connected.

- assisting someone who has high blood pressure to start an activity they find comfortable.

Social prescribing - relieving the NHS of some of its burdens:

Nearly a fifth of GP appointments are thought to be devoted to non-medical reasons like stress over money or housing, loneliness, isolation, and relationship problems. Through social prescribing, organisations, businesses, and other professionals can better assist individuals and solve their problems. Also, social prescribing has been shown to relieve the load on the NHS by reducing the requirement for GP visits and prescriptions.

Social prescribing support that is both practical and emotional:

A GP, hospital, charity, or other organisation will frequently refer a patient to a social prescribing network as the first step in the process in order to "connect" that person to local resources and organisations. Because of our ethnicity, where we reside, or a number of other variables, there may occasionally be obstacles to maintaining good health or gaining access to treatment. Social prescribing can examine both the causes of people's illnesses and their symptoms. It can assist people in locating the support they require based on their particular circumstances.

Social prescribing serves as the link between charitable organisations and those in need of their assistance. Some of us can get help on our own for things like financial difficulties or feelings of loneliness. But many of us encounter obstacles that prevent us from receiving the support we require. Health issues, disabilities, caring obligations, money issues, nervousness about trying something new, or simply not knowing where to begin are a few of these that may be present. By using a network of charities, local health practitioners and self-help group via social prescribing, a GP practice can be the conduit that aids a patient's well-being in their own community and help that individual from reaching a crisis point, which ultimately could cause long term health implications and in the saddest of circumstances the loss of life.

Our EK Health Kiosk pathways can be customised to add your own advisory messages which are relevant to your practice and your clinician network. According to the answers chosen by the patient to the questions posed to them via the kiosk, customised advisory messages can be given. For example, if the patient would like to do more exercise, they can be given a message sign-posting them on where to get information on local fitness classes, or if a patient has a high BMI they can be given a weight advisory message.

To see our health kiosks in action we can set up a demo for you and let you see for yourself how this innovative solution can be. Our kiosk can be the new teammate in your workforce, picking up the excess and giving practitioners more time to practice - Get in touch with us on 01223 812737 or, we’d be happy to chat and arrange a free, no-obligation demo

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