10 ways social prescribing provided an environment for community resilience to flourish during COVID19
THIS BLOG IS A REFLECTIVE LOOK BACK AT HOW THE SOCIAL PRESCRIBING MOVEMENT PROVIDED THE FOUNDATION FOR A PREVENTATIVE AND JOINED UP COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO COVID, WITH SOCIAL PRESCRIBING LINK WORKERS AT THE CENTRE OF COORDINATING CARE AND SUPPORT.
We’ve listened to our network of Elemental customers including 4,100 GPs, 108 Social Workers, 854 Link Workers and 51,318 people who benefit from their 939 programmes and services they deliver first hand. They’ve been telling us that demand for their services increased dramatically during COVID, that new referrals routes were established to support more people and that the strength of relationships formed between health and social care, housing, local gov and community sectors enabled them to get ahead of the crisis.
HERE’S WHAT OUR GROWING NETWORK HAD TO SAY:
- ‘WE WERE ABLE TO EASILY IDENTIFY THE VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY AND CONTACT THOSE PEOPLE AS COVID WAS DEVELOPING’
- ‘WE SAW AN INCREASE IN REFERRALS ACROSS SOCIAL PRESCRIBING NETWORKS AND PROGRAMMES. WE WERE ABLE TO MOBILISE OUR TEAMS TO BUILD CAPACITY WITHIN, ASSIGNING DIFFERENT LEVELS OF RESPONSIBILITY’
- ‘WE PROVIDED PEOPLE WITH THE ABILITY TO GET ACCESS TO SUPPORT MORE DIRECTLY BY PROVIDING SELF REFERRAL PATHWAYS DIRECTLY TO OUR LINK WORKERS’
- ‘WE WERE ABLE TO SEE THE MOST COMMON REASONS FOR REFERRAL DURING COVID AND AS A RESULT WERE ABLE TO SOURCE AND INVITE PARTNERS TO BE PART OF OUR NETWORK SO THAT WE COULD TAP INTO THE SUPPORT THEY PROVIDE- SPECIFICALLY BEFRIENDING, MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AND HELP WITH FOOD DISTRIBUTION’
- ‘THE LANDSCAPE FOR WHAT PEOPLE WERE CHOOSING TO BE CONNECTED TO CHANGED OVERNIGHT’
- ‘FOOD SECURITY BECAME ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL SUPPORT SERVICES’
- ‘THE ABILITY TO REMOTELY ON BOARD AND TRAIN NEW STAFF ON DIGITAL SOCIAL PRESCRIBING TOOLS WAS CRUCIAL IN INCREASING SUPPORT RESOURCE’
- ‘HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS HIGHLIGHTED THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL PRESCRIBING FOR CUSTOMERS AND TENANTS’
- ‘WE HAVE BEEN PREPARING FOR THE SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM IMPACT OF COVID, GETTING OUT IN FRONT OF THE CRISIS’
National Government COVID-19 strategies, local authorities, Housing, CCGs and PCNs, all enhanced their partnerships with community, voluntary and social enterprise sector organisations, both as a means of enabling people to get the non medical support they needed during COVID and as a way to enhance the capacity for community resilience and social connectivity.
As we enter the next phase of COVID, and understand what is now needed from our statutory and community sector partnerships, community assets and service providers, we look to both our Link Worker community, and the communities they directly support, to understand what support they needed during COVID and what made the difference to them during lockdown.
We’ve listened to our network of Elemental customers including 4,100 GPs, 108 Social Workers, 854 Link Workers and 51,318 people who benefit from their 939 programmes and services they deliver first hand. They tell us that demand for their services increased dramatically during COVID, demonstrating the strength of relationships formed between health and social care, housing, local gov and community sectors, enabling them to get ahead of the crisis
They also tell us about how they provided a network of support for their Link Workers during this time to ensure that there were escalation pathways in place, safeguarding and support provided and reflective practice built in and around their teams.
ENHANCING SOCIAL SUPPORT THROUGH DIGITAL
Elemental is a whole system platform for social prescribing, creating referrals, while managing and reporting outcomes and integrating with all leading clinical systems. The platform helps to report on the uptake and impact of social prescribing referrals, demonstrating the impact on the person, the community and the health and social care sector.
TAP THE HEADINGS BELOW TO UNCOVER WHAT WE LEARNED DURING COVID DIRECTLY FROM THOSE USING ELEMENTAL:
4. ‘WE WERE ABLE TO SEE THE MOST COMMON REASON FOR REFERRAL DURING COVID AND AS A RESULT, WERE ABLE TO SOURCE AND INVITE PARTNERS TO BE PART OF OUR NETWORK SO THAT WE COULD TAP INTO THE SUPPORT THEY PROVIDE- SPECIFICALLY BEFRIENDING, MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT AND HELP WITH FOOD DISTRIBUTION’
We don’t yet know the full level of impact that lockdown has had on people’s well-being and mental health, but we can anticipate that it will be substantial and that the health inequalities gap will widen. It’s daunting to think that things may never return to a pre-covid standard of care delivery but we now need to focus on community investment, collaborative working, multi-sector partnerships, social prescribing and what’s evident is that digital can tie all of these crucial elements together.
We’re committed to working with you to bridge the gap between sector, services and the community, and we promise to be with you, every step of the way.
3 THINGS TO DO NOW
Request a demo of our Core social prescribing platform in action
Speak with one of our expert team to discus your community plans and to establish if and how we can help
Elemental is an award winning Tech For Good company that helps stakeholders in social prescribing and population health management to focus on the wider determinants of health: income, wealth, housing, education, transport, leisure and supports the adoption of health behaviours and lifestyles: smoking, diet, drinking, exercise. Elemental better connects stakeholders, providers of services and patients with health risks in the places and communities we live in whilst generating data that helps inform the design and delivery of an integrated health and care system.
Elemental is used by over 279 digital social prescribing hubs across the UK and Ireland to connect people into community based activities, interventions and support pre, during and coming out of this phase of COVID. Over 51,000 people are benefitting from either self referrals or referrals made by crisis support teams, customer care, clinicians, multi disciplinary teams or housing officers to over 800 social prescribing Link Workers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Neff, Co Founder/CEO Elemental
Jennifer has more than a two decades of experience in regeneration and social and economic development. She drives the sales, marketing and partnerships engine within Elemental and champions social prescribing on lots of different levels.
Jennifer is a thought leader on social prescribing, social innovation and Tech for Good. She is a TedX speaker and was voted one of the Masarati Top 100 Entrepreneurs in 2018. Jennifer also founded the Young Innovator programme in Dubai and supports young people to design and develop solution ideas around social innovation. Link Workers.