Through co-production of innovative, evidence-based solutions, our partnership work is being recognised nationally for success in breaking down non-medical barriers to good health. Projects between Primary Integrated Community Services (PICS) and Sherwood Forest Hospitals, Nottingham University Hospitals and local peer to peer support group, Our Dementia Choir, have been showcased as excellent practice in social prescribing by two national organisations. The profiled projects have improved health and wellbeing outcomes for vulnerable people, disadvantaged communities and people living with Dementia.

The National Academy for Social Prescribing has featured the work of the Social Prescribing team with TV’s Our Dementia Choir in a special video. It’s part of their campaign to raise £10m for a new programme to fund grassroots music for dementia projects. They use evidence from the group to make a case for investment to ‘improve the lives of millions of people, alleviate symptoms of dementia and potentially save the NHS money.’

The National Association of Link Workers has profiled and showcased two projects between PICS Social Prescribing Service and local secondary care Trusts, Sherwood Forest Hospitals and Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH). One supports patients to ‘wait well’ and be ready for surgery. The other pilot offered specialist triages for people waiting in Kingsmill Emergency Department who were not registered with a GP.

TV’s Dementia Choir demonstrates the impact of PICS Social Prescribing team

Kate Harper, SPLW in Sherwood Primary Care Network (pictured right), is featured in a video produced by the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) that captures the experiences of people living with dementia who benefit from music therapy. The filming took place during a rehearsal of Nottinghamshire’s Our Dementia Choir, which is a local charity that started out as project by local star Vicky McClure and broadcast on TV.

In the video below, Dr Radha Modgil, GP and NASP Ambassador, explains: “We all know how important it is to support people living with long term health conditions with their wellbeing. Our Dementia Choir is doing just that and is a splendid example of social prescribing in action.”

Kate is part of the team that has referred people to the Choir and says: “It’s lovely to see how people coming to Our Dementia Choir have blossomed. To see that they’re smiling and chatting with others, and they’re living well with dementia.”

Members of the choir who either have dementia or live with someone with the condition shared their experiences:

  • “We uplift each other. I start feeling better about things a day or two before one of these sessions and it goes on for a day or two afterwards. It’s quite staggering.”
  • “It’s helped me live my life.”
  • “People need to know about everything that’s out there. It’ll change your life.”
  • “Get a Social Prescriber to signpost you to something that’s relevant to you.”

The evidence is being used as part of a National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP) campaign to raise £10m for a new programme to fund grassroots music for dementia projects to ‘improve the lives of millions of people, alleviate symptoms of dementia and potentially save the NHS money.’

Emily Cousins, National Lead for Older People at NASP, explains: “Without a medical cure for dementia, it is imperative that we focus on supporting people to ‘live well’ following a diagnosis. When a person living with dementia is referred to a link worker, this provides an opportunity for holistic, person-centred care. They can identify groups and programmes that might be of interest. For many, music can be incredibly powerful.”

Watch the video here:

Patients supported to be ready for surgery at NUH & Sherwood Forest Hospitals

A newly launched service supports people on elective care waiting lists at Sherwood Forest Hospitals to make positive lifestyle choices and achieve health and wellbeing goals that are important to them. Social Prescribers help identify and reach out to people who could benefit from support while they wait for their routine operation.

A similar service at Nottingham University Hospitals focuses on patients waiting for knee and hip operations.

The ‘Waiting Well’ services are designed to prevent further deterioration of their health and wellbeing and aid quicker recovery through support to:

  • Improve or maintain their physical condition through weight management and improving fitness.
  • Feel more informed and confident in the run up to surgery.
  • Identify and address isolation and loneliness.
  • Manage worries about finances, employment, or relationships.
  • Plan arrangements for dependents while Carers are in hospital and recovery.
  • Get better connected to their support networks and community resources.

Emergency Department interventions reveal pathways to GPs

In early 2022, a three-month pilot service at Kingsmill Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) provided valuable insights that have helped individuals improve their health and use alternatives to urgent care services.

People arriving at ED who weren’t registered with their GP Surgery were triaged to see whether unmet social needs were having a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. If so, they were offered a holistic assessment from a Social Prescribing Link Worker who was on site.

The benefits of registering with their local GP were explained and with permission, they were supported to find the closest Practice and get set up. Using open questioning techniques, conversations revealed barriers to accessing services more appropriate to their needs. Advice and information signposted alternatives, and some were referred to their local Primary Care Network Social Prescriber for ongoing support.

The project added value through:

  • Communicating with GP surgeries to share feedback and ways to overcome access barriers.
  • Increased knowledge of pathways and improved referrals between secondary, primary, community and voluntary services for both medical and social needs.
  • Provision of additional support for a local community of people from Eastern Europe who regularly presented at ED. They work in shift patterns and aren’t able to attend GP appointments at short notice, so access to alternative routes to care have been shared across the community.

Read the case studies:

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