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Author(s): Costa, A.
Lopes, J.
Sousa, C. J.
Santos, O.
Virgolino, A.
Nogueira, P.
Henriques, A.
Seabra, P. R. C.
Capitão, C.
Martins, R.
Arriaga, M.
Alarcão, V.
Date: 2021
Title: Developing a social prescribing local system in a European Mediterranean country: a feasibility study to promote active and healthy aging
Volume: 21
Number: 1
ISSN: 1472-6963
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1186/s12913-021-07186-6
Keywords: Social prescribing
Primary health care
Community referral
On-the-job training
Abstract: Background: Social Prescribing (SP) is an innovative strategy to respond to the non-clinical health needs of the population. A Social Prescribing Local System (SPLS) can be defined as a set of joined community, health, and social organizations to foster SP-oriented activities. This study aimed to develop and assess the feasibility of an SPLS implemented in a Mediterranean country, to promote health and wellbeing and contribute to active and healthy aging. Methods: A mixed-methods approach was followed, including three sequential components: 1) Cross-sectional online survey targeting health professionals (HP) working in a primary health care cluster, Portugal’s southern region; 2) Pilot study implementing an on-the-job training program for HP, designed to meet identified training needs in the survey; 3) Focus group (FG) with the HP who participated in the pilot study, two individual interviews, with an elderly patient and a community provider for assessing the satisfaction with the pilot test. Results: Sixty-five HP completed the survey; of these, 13 completed the theoretical part of the on-the-job training program; and six (out of these 13) completed the full program. Five HP participated in the FG, one patient and one community provider were interviewed. The surveyed HP perceived as facilitators to implement SP: an automatic system of notifications to prompt the use of SP, contribute to patient satisfaction, human and community resources’ stability. The survey also highlighted barriers to SP implementation: length of appointments, shortage of human resources, data records confidentiality, low patient adherence rates, bureaucratic issues, time constraints, and financial costs. Participants were satisfied with the training. Identified SPLS implementation benefits were grouped into four dimensions (from the qualitative approach): gains for patients’ health and wellbeing, support for the health services, sustainability of the community resources, and HP’ professional satisfaction. Conclusions: Our study took the first steps towards the implementation of an SPLS. Findings reinforce that training HP in SP and on-the-job training seems feasible. This approach was well received and appears to represent a suitable and sustainable strategy. It can promote professional satisfaction, support health services, contribute to the stability of community resources, improve health and promote active and healthy aging.
Peerreviewed: yes
Access type: Open Access
Appears in Collections:CIES-RI - Artigos em revistas científicas internacionais com arbitragem científica

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