CAN leads the way with Social Prescribing - a non-clinical approach to helping people improve their health and wellbeing

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CAN is working with GP practices across Breckland and West Norfolk, through Living Well Connectors employed by partner organisations Age UK, Family Action Swaffham, Future Projects, Home Group Ltd., The Matthew Project, West Norfolk Carers and West Norfolk Mind in delivering  this new approach to addressing patients' health and wellbeing issues. 

Results are very encouraging, as Terence's story illustrates...

Terence's GP referred him to CAN's Social Prescribing service with a background history of an irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation and multiple sclerosis, along with memory impairment caused predominantly by a succession of strokes. GP referred him with a background history of an irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation and multiple sclerosis, along with memory impairment caused predominantly by a succession of strokes. 

Terence had been experiencing difficulty finding the right words in conversation, causing him to avoid social situations, as he is anxious when he is around people who do not know him and understand his problems. This can go as far as him avoiding answering the door to avoid any awkwardness. And all this triggers a negative spiral.  Terence’s GP added he would very much like to try to develop some form of independence and attend activities that interest him.

Discussing possible solutions with a Social Prescribing support worker proved positive. Terence and his wife used to enjoy going to see horse-racing, but mobility access problems and poor memory and eyesight have made that difficult. Sometimes the simplest solutions can be highly effective and a radio with simultaneous race commentary might help him better follow the action on race-day. Terence considered re-joining a memory clinic which he used to enjoy attending and expressed interest in finding out more about Hunstanton Carers’ Group, Swaffham Wellbeing Group and King’s Lynn Men’s Shed were also suggested. He also enjoys walking but realistically is limited in how much he can do.

In terms of transport, the Driving Miss Daisy service, which provides companion and driving services for the elderly, children and disabled – and indeed anyone who is unable to or is anxious about driving – was recommended.

Technology offered good solutions too; Terence and his support worker talked about using an electronic diary, calendar and thesaurus to search for word meanings and information.

His support worker reports that some of the possible solutions proved helpful, others less successful; Terence and his wife have been to Fakenham races and to Hunstanton Carers’ Group and are using paper-based memory aids. They’ve also attended Swaffham Wellbeing Group and intend to do so again. And they’ve been to King’s Lynn Corn Exchange to see a ‘60s group and plan to go to the theatre in Norwich friends.

“Terence is still anxious about going out but still pushes himself to do things and is sometimes pleasantly surprised by how successful and enjoyable things can be. Although he still has difficulty accessing events and activities, he has now found way of overcoming some of the barriers that had previously stopped him and is building the confidence to do more.”

The couple say they are happy with the support they have received from the Social Prescribing service.  You can read more about how it works here