What is Social Prescription?
Social prescriptions allow healthcare and social sector professionals to refer people to non-medical treatment as tools for improving health and well-being.
For example, if a person is feeling lonely and enjoys art, their doctor might prescribe them a free pass to an art gallery. This is just one example – the social prescription will change depending on an individual’s needs and interests.
United Way partnered with local leaders to share their experiences with social prescription. To learn more, check out the webinar recording below.
Exploring a Local Model
Just like individuals, unique communities may require different social prescription models. To better understand what one might look like in Halton and Hamilton, United Way led research and community engagement to understand existing resources, needs, and what models might exist.
In partnership with McMaster University and the Mitacs Accelerate Program, United Way conducted a literature review that identified four types of social prescription models. In practice, features of these different models may be combined, or new practices might emerge to reflect local realities.
- Clinical Model: Based on the existing biomedical model of health, focused on reducing medical symptoms
- Holistic Model: Addresses health in a holistic way, including social factors
- Empowerment Model: Builds on the holistic model, and includes co-producing the social prescription with the individual
- Healthy Community Model: A unique model that focuses on the health and well-being of the community
United Way engaged more than 100 community stakeholders about their perspectives on social prescription. While most did not use the term, several existing practices were identified that are implementing core components of social prescription. In general, community partners were in favour of developing more social prescription models as a way to reduce silos of care and improve diverse determinants of health to create vibrant communities.
To learn more about our academic research, please read our report by clicking here.