At a recent committee meeting, we met with Lynda and Erika, the social prescribers attached to Parkwood Surgery.In their presentation, they explained the role of a social prescriber, what help was available, and how volunteers could get involved.
Read on to find out more!
Social prescribing is a way of tackling the underlying causes of a person’s ill health. If a person presents at the GP with repeated chest infections in a short space of time, with no seeming underlying medical issue, the GP may make a referral to the social prescriber and ask them to look into the patient’s living conditions and general lifestyle.
The social prescriber can make a home visit and might find a reason for the patient’s ill health, such as a faulty boiler causing the house to be too cold, or damp living conditions. With the issue identified, the social prescriber can also work with the patient to try to resolve it, which may include accessing funding or grants to help improve their living situation.
Social prescribers might also be asked to step in following a life-altering diagnosis, such as a degenerative or terminal condition. When the patient is ready, the social prescriber can help them to access any benefits they might be entitled to, and direct them towards support groups.
For some patients, loneliness is a huge issue and might lead to them seeking medical help when no real diagnosis can be made. In these cases, the social prescriber can help to find social activities for that person to engage with, or for those who are house-bound, volunteers to spend some time with them in their own home.
The purpose of the social prescriber is to seek ways of avoiding the patient becoming ill and needing medical care.
Social prescriber clinics
To help reach more people, Lynda and Erika will be available at Parkwood Surgery on the first Wednesday of each month from 12.00pm. If you think you or someone you know would benefit from some support of this kind and would like a face-to-face chat appointments can be made via the surgery’s reception team.
Lynda and Erika’s services are provided to Parkwood Surgery from HertsHelp, a network of community organisations in Hertfordshire which work together to help residents find support for a whole range of issues. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from some help, but you’re not sure quite what, you can make a self-referral to HertsHelp by calling 0300 1234044 or emailing email@example.com.
You can also text hertshelp to 81025 or contact them via minicom on 0300 456 2364.
Find out more about the services HertsHelp can put you in touch with on their website:
How you can get involved
During their presentation, Lynda and Erika said one of the biggest problems was finding those volunteers to spend time with people who cannot access social groups outside the home. For many of these people, the only visitors they have are carers or medical professionals who don’t have time to sit and chat with them.
If you think you could be one of these friendly visitors, you can find out more from;