Tuesday 23 June 2020

Social Prescribing: My Experience

I've already talked a little about Social Prescribing and me but I thought I'd write in little more detail.

I was referred to our local Social Prescribing team but my Occupational Therapist when I was in hospital. Upon coming home from hospital I was appointed a Link Worker. It was important for me to have a female Link Worker but everyone in the team is female but my request was listened to.

My Link Worker is the pivotal person in my care in the service and the only person that I've had contact with other than the other yesterday when we was due to have a video chat but she was unwell so a colleague of hers called me to say that my Link Worker was ill and so our appointment wasn't going to go ahead.

At the moment I'm still getting to know my Link Worker and she's getting to know me. We started off talking on the phone and now we meet via video link. (Normal we'd meet face-to-face but due to the coronavirus like with my other care all my appointments are done over the phone or via zoom). We've talked about how I am at the moment in time, where I see myself in the future both mid and long term. My Link Worker has let me know about some possible groups I might be interested in engaging in for the future such as chair-based yoga, a sewing group and an art group.

Sometimes when we meet it's just an opportunity to talk; other times it can be setting small achievable goals and aims that we set together. Our recent aims that we discussed where to:
  • Blog about Social Prescribing  
  • Find creative makes for my blog's 'Monthly Makes' 
  • Do a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle (yet to complete, but that's okay)
(On Twitter the NALW really liked what I'd written on my blog as did my Link Worker.)

Everything is based around my own interests which is important and it makes me feel like my Link Worker knows and understands me. It's also part of the person-centred model or care and also seeing things in a biopsychosocial (physical, emotional and social) way. Social Prescribing aims to do as well as following the social model of care (as opposed to the medical model*).

It's helping me rediscover the things I enjoy and setting goals gives me a sense of achievement and it's helping me rediscover and engage in the things I enjoy. 

What's also important to me is that it's not solely focussed on my physical health. Yes that does play a part in what I do with my Link Worker and I can't switch off my health problems, but what's important to me that I set at the beginning of the year was to try and not over-medicalise my life. So by writing about Social Prescribing and finding creative makes to put up on my blog it's helping me to find things to blog about that aren't to do with the medical world. At the same time; reflecting on this now, it's helping me in my head to not focus on my chronic illnesses. Yes I can't escape from my own body, but it's getting me into a different mindset of what to I can focus my mind on (which again is important to me). I am not my chronic illness, it's just one of the portions of who I am.

As well as the goal setting there's also the practical things like emotional support and if needed signposting me to other services or supporting me by acting on my behalf, offering guidance and providing me with information.

What was really nice at the weekend was I received some post from the Social Prescribing team with some information such as coping with anxiety, making a 'Happy Box/Jar', a wordsearch puzzle, support/helpline contact details, keeping active at home and a competition around people's garden spaces - I submitted some photographs on my plants in my room.

I wasn't expecting to write this much so I will bring this post to an end but I would say that it's helpful to have that single point of access person aka my Link Worker and that yes it was my health problems that gained me access to the service but that they don't focus solely on that but me as a person. A bit like a bubble of Naomi: my interests, what's important to me, my care needs and wishes, how I envision my future etc.

The major benefits I find of Social Prescribing is that it supplements my physical health care and offers a different angle on meeting my needs beyond just trying to patch up or fix me medically.

If you have a long-term/chronic illness I would defiantly recommend asking your GP or other care professional in your care team about Social Prescribing.


Tuesday 16 June 2020

Social Prescribing: Link Workers

In the UK there are over 1,000 Link Workers* working with individuals of all ages. Link Workers come from a variety of backgrounds including community outreach, peer support, volunteering, wellbeing, public health, advocacy, health and social care. (*NALW)

Link Workers have a variety of other titles for example health advisor, health trainer, care navigator, community navigator, community connector, social prescribing coordinator and community care coordinator.¹

In a survey of Link Workers it was found that the main reason individuals when into this type of work was because they [Link Workers] wanted to give back to their community. ²

When a person comes under the care of a Social Prescribing service they are appointed a Link Worker.

As mentioned in last weeks post giving an introduction to Social Prescribing, Link Workers work with individuals who have long-term chronic or complex health care needs including those with mental health problems and individuals who may have become isolated from society.

This link worker is the 'go to' person for the individual and will be the single point of contact allowing individuals to build up a working relationship with their Link Worker in return giving individuals stability, trust and consistency.

A Social Prescribing Link Worker works with individuals to build up their confidence to take better control of their health and wellbeing and this can take place in many forms. Link workers actively listen to individuals to understand what it import to that individual.

Link Workers work with individuals to identify the person's needs in a holistic matters; not just looking at their physical needs but their social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and cultural needs. This then comes together to develop a personalised action plan identifying short-term and long-term goals as well as identifying any external services or other agencies that the individual could be signposted and referred to.

I'm still getting to know my Link Worker and as well as the practical work we do together there's also an element of supporting my emotional needs too. Many people with chronic health problems will have secondary mental health issues including depression and anxiety which can reduce a person's quality of life ³. At the moment with my Link Worker we have some sort of long-term-ish goals floating around such as groups I can attend possibly in the future but mostly we're just focussing on here and now short-term goals for example writing a blog post about Social Prescribing and completing a jigsaw puzzle and what creative things I can do etc. These things are what are manageable and achievable for me at this present moment. It's nice to have a care professional supporting me that isn't working on the medical model of health care but is seeing me as a bubble of holistic needs and also individually what matter's most to me, like blogging and being creative.

8 Things You Can Do with a Degree in Christian Counseling - Clarks ...


Tuesday 9 June 2020

Social Prescribing: An Introduction

Social Prescribing is something that I'm benefiting from at the moment and it's something that I'm fairly new too. I have a Link Worker who I'm starting to get to know at the moment and she can support me for up for two years.

Who is Social Prescribing for?

People who may benefit from social prescribing include:
  • Individuals with chronic long-term illness
  • Individuals with complex needs that is affecting their wellbeing
  • Those in need of support with their mental health
  • People who are isolated from society

What is Social Prescribing?

Social Prescribing follows the Social Model of care as opposed to the traditional Medical Model of care used in medicine. (See my blog post on the Social and Medical Models of care.) It recognises that a person's health is not just determined by their physical wellbeing but that other factors play a role also in a person such as social, economic and environmental and cultural factors.

This could include:
  • Lifestyle including diet, exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Finances including debt and a person's disposable income
  • Eduction
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Religion
  • Where a person lives
  • Access to the community

Social Prescribing comes from the NHS' 'Long-Term Plan' and it replaces the 'one-size fits all' model of care, especially when it comes to supporting individuals with complex and/or chronic needs the extend beyond their physical wellbeing. For example tackling isolation, accessing the community, confidence building and more. It aims to gives people fuller and healthier lives all round addressing not just physical needs, but social, emotional, spiritual, cultural and intellectual needs.

Working in Partnership

Social Prescribing services work in partnership with a wide range of health and social care professionals as well as with partner organisation including the NHS, Public Health England, the British Medical Association, Community Leisure UK, the National Association of Primary Care, National Voices, the National Academy for Social Prescribing and more. (*NALW)


Friday 5 June 2020

Opportunities I've taken part in for M.E Awareness Month

So I've been quite busy this month supporting the work done by Action for M.E and the M.E Association.

To start off with I took part in a short video with Action for M.E with two other people, Daisy and Simon, who both have M.E also using our expertise by experience in self-care and coping with the coronavirus lockdown.

As a result of the video BBC Radio Humberside got in touch with Action for M.E asking if I was up to being on their breakfast show so last Friday I did a prerecorded interview talking about M.E, why I decided to take part in the video and also M.E and the coronavirus lockdown.

The link to the radio show is here; it's about 17 ½ minutes into the show for the extended interview.
(Looking back I wish I spoken more about how M.E affects me personally rather than explaining what M.E is.)

Then earlier in the year I submitted my story to the M.E Association's M.E Awareness Campaign which their themes for this year are 'The Lost Years' and 'The Symptoms of M.E' and those have been shared on their website and social media. 

The link to my two articles are below:


This was an awareness event I put together myself. Each day something was asked about myself and M.E (and some days non illness related things). For example 'Who am I', 'The difficult aspect of having M.E', 'Happiness', 'M.E in one word', 'Myths and Facts', 'Friendships' etc.

Each day on Instagram I shared that day's response in an Instagram story. I saved them as a highlight. A link to my Instagram account can be found here.

Then on my blog here I went into more detail with my responses and published them as a weekly post:

Monday 1 June 2020

June's Monthly Make - Aromatherapy Spritz Bottle

This month we'll be making a really easy aromatherapy spitz bottle. You could make one to spray on your pillow at night or to freshen up clothing.

Difficulty rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (Simple)


  • Empty spray bottle (mine is around 250 mls)
  • Filtered water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Aromatherapy essential oils
  • Card
  • String
  • Pens and other materials to make a a label for your bottle

What to do

  1. Fill your empty spray bottle with the filtered water
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of salt (this helps as a preservative)
  3. Put the lid on and shake 
  4. Add no more than 30 drops of essential oils - less if you're using a smaller bottle
  5. Put the lid on and give it another shake
  6. Make a label for your bottle and attach

Aromatherapy blends

Here a few ideas for what essential oils you might wish to put into your spitz bottle
  • Grapefruit + Orange + Lime
  • Lavender + Geranium + Bergamot
  • Bergamot + Frankincense + Lemon
  • Lime + Lavender + Spearmint
  • Lemongrass + Orange + Peppermint
  • Tea tree + Lemon + Lavender