How social prescribing services have used digital to ensure no break in the service delivery during Covid-19

THIS IS THE SIXTH IN A SERIES OF BLOGS FOCUSING ON SOME OF THE INNOVATIVE WAYS THAT COMMUNITIES ARE USING DIGITAL TO HELP THEM RESPOND TO COVID-19 ACROSS THE UK AND IRELAND.

In our previous blog we looked at how One Health Lewisham and Volunteer Cornwall quickly adapted their services in response to Covid-19 by using digital to enhance remote working whilst continuing to provide much needed support during this critical time.

How social prescribing services have used digital to ensure no break in the service delivery during Covid 19
SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON OUR COMMUNITY AND HEALTHCARE WORKERS WHO CONTINUE TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES MOBILISED, CONNECTED AND SUPPORTED

This week, we are highlighting the work being done by more of our incredible customers, with a focus on how they’ve adapted their services in the face of Covid-19, and how using digital enhanced their ability to do this remotely.

We’re seeing many areas using digital for:

  •  Communication between health and social care teams and patients
  •  Recruitment of volunteers
  •  Creation of support plans
  •  Monitoring the wellbeing of a cohort of people
  •  Measuring the overall impact of community planning and the effectiveness of coordinated delivery
  •  Mapping all the different types of support that’s available
  •  Finding out what people want and what is working well
  •  Recording who has had which kind of support and prioritising those who need it
  •  Sharing of online resources such as exercise videos, singing groups and meditation
  •  Online debt advice
  •  Understanding where the gaps are in both delivery and capacity of teams
ACTION TOGETHER – NO BREAK IN SERVICE DELIVERY

In response to the Covid-19 public health emergency, Action Together quickly adapted their way of working and their service. Staff at the CVS organisation in Tameside have been working remotely and delivering their service by phone during lockdown.  They anticipate that for many, their support will continue through post-lockdown, when people may need guidance to reconnect with their community.

Action Together have been delivering Social Prescribing as part of their community wellbeing programme since February 2018. This service is commissioned by Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT. In December 2019, Action Together were contracted by all 4 Tameside PCN’s to deliver their social prescribing offer as part of our existing service and they recruited 4 new link workers who started in post in January.

How social prescribing services have used digital to ensure no break in the service delivery during Covid 19 Action Together

Using the Elemental Core Social Prescribing platform has allowed Action Together to adapt their social prescribing service easily to remote working and has allowed partners to refer as normal with the team accessing referrals from home. This has meant that there has been no break in service delivery as a result of Covid 19/Lockdown.  

OVER 1,000 REFERRALS

As well as taking referrals from primary care and adult social care, they have been working closely with the councils’ newly established covid support hub. Using Elemental, the team were easily able to set them up as new referring agents and they now refer to us online using Elemental. The Social Prescribing team has taken over 1000 referrals for people in need of extra support from the voluntary sector at this time.

As well as ensuring people are looking after their wellbeing and remaining socially connected and linking people to support for this, Action Together have also been connecting people to volunteers to help with tasks such as shopping and prescription delivery.

Since the start of lockdown they have successfully linked over 500 people to volunteer support,and  they have easily been able to track these figures using Elemental reporting. Elemental helps them to track which groups we have referred to, and the groups can use this information as evidence when applying for funding to continue delivering their services. 

“Referrals at Action Together have increased from around 100 a month, to 1000 in less than 2 months. At our busiest we received 136 referrals in a single day. The team have worked closely with partners to help meet the demand and they enlisted the help of staff from Tameside’s health improvement service to work as part of our team. Again we were able to give them temporary access to Elemental so that after a brief induction we could work remotely and as part of the Action Together team.” – Kirsty Fisher, Social Prescribing Programme Manager at Action Together

One of the team gave the following feedback: “I would just like to say a thank you to Action Together and your team. I have worked on many events in the community over the last 21 months for Be Well Tameside and chatted briefly to Action Together staff. I now know a lot more about what you do which will help me in my role in the future. I realise what a difficult job you all do and much needed. You are all making a difference to people’s lives for the better!”

How social prescribing services have used digital to ensure no break in the service delivery during Covid 19 Action Together

Action Together have been working closely with Tameside’s voluntary sector groups and are working as normal to link people to the most appropriate voluntary sector support, such as for wellbeing phonecalls from the Buddy Service (Mind, Leap and Diversity Matters NorthWest), Age UK, The Alzheimers Society, or People First to name just a few. They are also working directly with the council and local volunteers who have signed up to help on the Action Together Website, to ensure people who are a little more vulnerable can still get the help they need.

DURING COVID-19 ACTION TOGETHER HAVE NOTICED POSITIVE OUTCOMES INCLUDING:
  •  Improved partnership working across the system.
  •  Identifying individuals through newly established support infrastructure, who were isolated before lockdown but had not reached out for support.
  •  Taking the opportunity to both support in the short term and work to improve their quality of life in the long term.
AN EXAMPLE OF THIS IN THE CASE STUDY BELOW:

The Council’s Covid Support Hotline referred a man to Action Together for support. He is shielding, but because of his health conditions he has been almost housebound for over 2yrs and he told his social prescribing officer he was “well-versed” in being indoors/isolated.

His social prescribing officer told him about some different local organisations offering befriending opportunities and he chose one that is based within a local church, streets away from his home. This community group usually do home befriending visits and have adapted their services to provide him with a weekly telephone call. They have matched him with a volunteer who will be able to visit him at home once restrictions are lifted. 

How social prescribing services have used digital to ensure no break in the service delivery during Covid 19
THE BUREAU

At the beginning of the public health emergency we spoke to The Bureau in Glossop about how they adapted their services in the face of Covid19, and how they were using Elemental to help focus all efforts on coordinating the support of their community during this unprecedented period of worry and disruption. 

8 weeks later, we spoke to the Bureau to see how using digital has been benefitting staff and management to keep on top of their work.https://www.youtube.com/embed/wk-3VOvZtlc?feature=oembed&wmode=transparent

The community wellbeing charity has a team of 5 social prescribers and they have been using Elemental for almost 2 years. Partnerships Delivery Lead at the Bureau, Charlotte Leonhardsen has described the implementation of Elemental in their organisation as being a huge benefit, especially in terms of herself as a manager to get a quick overview of how the scheme is performing. 

A huge benefit for the team at the Bureau in terms of saving time, especially when staff have been so stretched during this pandemic, has been the ability to easily pull reports. 

“In the past I had to create spreadsheets and enter all the data manually and then try to create a nice visual overview that can be shared with stakeholders and the team. With Elemental, all it takes is a few clicks and the information and layout is already there. Also, we are very keen on using cohorts to understand the clients that we are working with. This feature is especially beneficial if we chose to target a specific cohort, such as people living with dementia, to inform them about a new community activity group that has been launched, or inform them about specific support that has been launched through health or social care. “ Charlotte Leonhardsen, Project Delivery Manager, The Bureau.

How social prescribing services have used digital to ensure no break in the service delivery during Covid 19

Setting goals is a key task for social prescribers and the Bureau when working with client, especially during the Covid lockdown. The team are keen on involving the client in their goal setting and giving them the opportunity to make comments about their progress,which is a massive confidence boost for the individual.

“My team is finding the platform a very important tool to allow them to manage their clients and ensure that records are up to date during this crisis, and that everything is in the one place. For me as a manager it enables me to have a detailed insight in the clients – what type of clients we are dealing with, their needs and the outcomes. Having this information at the touch of a button allows me to feedback the details to commissioners. So overall, I would not like to go back to my life as a manager before Elemental that’s for sure.” – Charlotte Leonhardsen, Project Delivery Manager, The Bureau.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

Need a digital partner to enhance the impact of your social prescribing programmes, or to help you to co-design, deliver and scale your COVID19 plans?

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Jennifer and Leeann

Someone’s health and wellbeing can be affected by where they live, what they do for a living, their income or their early childhood background experiences. This in turn leads to some stark, and often avoidable health differences.

We founded Elemental to play an active part in halting health inequalities through the social prescribing movement. Our technology helps communities to be better connected, build resilience and bring real precision to the measurement of the impact of community investment.

We work with organisations that want to continue to invest in their communities but want to be much better at measuring impact and outcomes.

We believe this is a powerful route out of health inequality.

CEO & Co-Founder, Jennifer Neff
COO & Co-Founder, Leeann Monk-Ozgul

Jennifer and Leeann

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