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A rapid review of opportunities and challenges in the implementation of social prescription interventions for addressing the unmet needs of individuals living with long-term chronic conditions

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Attached is a recent paper published in the BMC Public Health journal and below is the paper's abstract.


People with long-term chronic conditions often struggle to access and navigate complex health and social services. Social prescription (SP) interventions, a patient-centred approach, help individuals identify their holistic needs and increase access to non-clinical resources, thus leading to improved health and well-being. This review explores existing SP interventions for people with long-term chronic conditions and identifies the opportunities and challenges of implementing them in primary healthcare settings.


This rapid review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis guidelines and searched relevant articles in three databases (PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science) by using subject headings and keywords combined with Boolean operators. The search encompassed articles published between January 2010 and June 2023. Two authors independently conducted study screening and data abstraction using predefined criteria. A descriptive synthesis process using content analysis was performed to summarise the literature.


Fifteen studies were included, with all but one conducted in the United Kingdom, and revealed that social prescribers help guide patients with long-term chronic conditions to various local initiatives related to health and social needs. Effective implementation of SP interventions relies on building strong relationships between social prescribers and patients, characterised by trust, empathy, and effective communication. A holistic approach to addressing the unmet needs of people with long-term chronic conditions, digital technology utilisation, competent social prescribers, collaborative healthcare partnerships, clinical leadership, and access to local resources are all vital components of successful SP intervention. However, the implementation of SP interventions faces numerous challenges, including accessibility and utilisation barriers, communication gaps, staffing issues, an unsupportive work environment, inadequate training, lack of awareness, time management struggles, coordination and collaboration difficulties, and resource constraints.


The present review emphasises the importance of addressing the holistic needs of people with long-term chronic conditions through collaboration and coordination, training of social prescribers, community connections, availability of local resources, and primary care leadership to ensure successful interventions, ultimately leading to improved patient health and well-being outcomes. This study calls for the need to develop or utilise appropriate tools that can capture people's holistic needs, as well as an implementation framework to guide future contextual SP interventions."

  • By

    Yadav, U.N., Paudel, G., Khatiwada, B., et al.

  • Published

    Feb 12, 2024

  • Subject Area
  • Audience
    • Academics
    • Funders
    • Government (Politicians, Policy Makers) and Health Authorities
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
    • Caregivers, Seniors & Volunteers
    • Government
    • Health Authorities
  • Category


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