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The problem with the definition of ‘social prescribing’: Exploring the language used, and key roles within the concept

RUNACRES, Jessica (2022) The problem with the definition of ‘social prescribing’: Exploring the language used, and key roles within the concept. In: 4TH INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL PRESCRIBING NETWORK CONFERENCE, 10th - 11th March 2022, Virtual.

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Abstract or description

Aim of project/research:
To examine SP in practice with a view to producing a novel definition of the concept.

Method(s) used:
Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were undertaken with key stakeholders. Eighteen GPs from 16 general practices undertook individual interviews. Fifteen link workers from seven social prescribing organisations undertook face-to-face focus groups. Eighteen service users participated in face-to-face or telephone interviews. Interviews were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Non-thematic data present in interviews were analysed categorically.

Key Findings/Learning:
Three overarching themes were identified: discrepancies in knowledge and understanding, mismatch of expectations, and reliance on medical language and processes. Participants described the typical SP ‘journey’. Descriptions varied dependent upon the involvement of a SP service. The type of ‘journey’ most described related SP light and signposting. Descriptions of holistic SP were given by a few GPs and service users, but were provided by all link workers.
A new definition was developed: SP is a process by which a healthcare professional or SP link worker assesses an individuals’ non-medical needs and connects them with non-medical sources of support, often within the community, to improve health and wellbeing. This definition differs from those pre-existing in the following ways: the definition more tightly applies the term to the point at which the social prescription is performed, the term ‘healthcare professionals’ is adopted, both healthcare professionals and link workers are identified as providing social prescriptions, the anticipated outcome is included, those accessing SP are labelled ‘individuals’, and the importance of community resources is highlighted.

A common definition of SP is currently lacking and the application of the concept in practice is inconsistent. Definitions influence service implementation and delivery, as individuals deliver a service which aligns with their understanding of a concept. Consequently, this new definition could support consistent delivery and enable stakeholders to articulate the mechanisms involved, and the anticipated outcomes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Faculty: School of Health and Social Care > Nursing and Midwifery
Event Location: Virtual
Event Dates: 10th - 11th March 2022
Depositing User: Jessica RUNACRES
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2022 08:22
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 14:03
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