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Social Prescribing - finding support for every part of your life

Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
edited October 2019 in Guest blogs
I had never heard of Social Prescribing before, I assumed it was something to do with medication and then I got a call from my GP surgery asking if I would like to find out more.

I have a chronic illness called Ulcerative Colitis, due to this I have a permanent ostomy bag and unfortunately because of multiple surgeries I am left with chronic pain, hernias and the need for ongoing operations and treatment. I am a blogger who talks about chronic illness and disability and of course, I work here for Scope. I am no stranger to the doctors surgery and hospital appointments and because of my blog and work, I thought I had a good understanding about what support is out there.

My doctor surgery has a service offered to anyone with a long term health condition, they know that we have multiple appointments and often have a lot of paperwork and see different clinics and their aim is to offer more support in all areas of our lives. This is how I first found out about social prescribing.

woman in coat and scarf

To me it is a fancy term that means looking at a person as a whole and supporting them in all areas of their life rather than just focussing on the thing that brings them to the doctor that day. 

They came to visit me at home and went through a lot of different things. 

Finances


Financially, was I claiming any benefit support that I would be entitled to. Regarding work, if I worked, did I need any support or assistance or did I want support in finding a job.

At home


Did I have any mobility needs and were there were any aids that would help me to live more comfortably at home.  Did I have carers, either formally or through friends and family. How did I find cooking, stairs, etc.
What was my family make up, as I had children, did they need any support?

Medications


They asked about my different medical issues and medications, about the appliances I need and if I was getting everything I needed.

Mental health


Could they support me into counselling or any support around my mental health, including things like support groups, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or relaxation therapies.

Social


Would attending a social group help me in any way? Could they help me look for local groups that would benefit me, a hobby, exercise group etc

For me, it felt like a huge relief, that I wasn't on my own in all this. When you have a chronic illness, you are thrown into this world of doctors and hospitals and it can be very lonely. It can be hard to talk about what needs you have, especially if you are anything like me which is stubborn and not wanting to admit I may need help! 

If you have a long term condition, a chronic illness or a disability and feel you could benefit from this sort of support, then get in touch with your GP surgery and ask what help they can give. It may be called social prescribing, wellness or many other different titles but there is support out there and it is worth asking.

Does your GP offer this sort of service? Is it something you think could help you or someone you know? I would love to hear more.
Scope
Senior online community officer

Replies

  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for sharing this @Sam_Scope! Some great information!
    Scope

  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    I honestly do not know but I'll find out tomorrow. What is available for children with impairments? I think it could benefit my whole family. This is a great initiative. We had a needs assessment two weeks ago, now I'll ring up tomorrow to ask for the report that was written. In Surrey I know that there are play schemes for disabled people up to 25 years of age, I'm planning to start applying for that tomorrow on my son's behalf. .

    And I agree with you. As the daughter of a former social services worker, I know a lot about social prescribing and why it is a good thing for disabled folks. Not only is it a good way to meet people, you have the chance to learn new skills and make a positive difference in your community as well. What could be better? We need to prevent social loneliness or isolation. But we need more activities for the youngest disabled folk and their parents. 

    I have not been able to find much for my son. He is going to turn 3 this week. So we are also looking at mainstream activities and adapting them to his needs as much as possible instead so he can be a active participant not just a bored spectator. 
  • AilsAils Member Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for this @Sam_Scope.  Glad the Social Prescribing was of help to you and your family.  It does sound really good.  As I have said in previous posts, I got in touch with Social Work when we first moved to our area so that I could find groups in the area to go to.  I was put in touch with a Community Link Worker who signposted me to different activities/groups in the area and accompanied me at first, she also visited me at home to see what other support I would need.  I still keep in touch with her and am actually meeting up with her on Friday for lunch.  I don't know if it is the same service offered in Scotland, but with a different name, but sounds similar.  I will ask her about Social Prescribing when I see her though.  :smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • Tammyjane33Tammyjane33 Member Posts: 685 Pioneering
    I've not heard of this term either, it would be good and interesting to find out more. 
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