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Social Prescribing in Alberta

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What is social prescribing?

Social prescribing is a holistic, wrap-around approach to healthcare that bridges the gap between medical and social care services. Through this approach, healthcare professionals refer patients to community-based programs to improve their health and enhance their quality of life. If a healthcare professional notices that a patient has non-medical, health-related social needs, they can make a social prescription to a Link Worker.

Link Workers are non-clinical professionals employed by community-based, seniors-serving organizations. They help clients to develop and achieve a personalized set of goals by accessing community resources. Link Workers do not replace the role of healthcare providers. Rather, they complement a client’s medical care by providing additional support. Typically, this is not just a single referral but a supportive, wrap-around approach of service connection to support the full development of the individual, with their active participation and collaboration in the process. Link Workers connect clients to recreational and social programs, assist with accessing financial benefits and provide referrals to assisted transportation programs. They also connect clients to in-home support services, such as housekeeping and snow removal. Link workers also refer more complex issues to social workers who are a part of the social prescribing network in the community.

Further resources:

How can I help promote or advocate for social prescribing in my community?

If you already have a social prescribing program for older adults in your community, you can advocate for increased funding for the Link Worker role to colleagues in the health sector and government. We believe that this role is best positioned within community-based seniors serving organizations. You can champion this approach of service delivery when talking to colleagues across the sector.

If you don’t have a social prescribing program for older adults in your community and would like to see this approach in place, you can connect with us at Healthy Aging Alberta for resources to use when speaking with potential funders. Healthy Aging Alberta can also support you with communication materials, training, and evaluation frameworks. Healthy Aging Alberta currently supports social prescribing programs in Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge through its Social Prescribing for Older Adults Program. For more information about the Social Prescribing work we are doing at Healthy Aging Alberta, you can contact Beth Mansell, Provincial Social Prescribing Project Manager. You can also join our Social Prescribing group on Healthy Aging CORE Alberta to talk more about this!  

  • By

    Healthy Aging Alberta

  • Published

    Aug 09, 2023

  • Subject Area
    • General Health and Wellness
    • Housing
    • Mental Health and Wellness
    • Referral and Systems Navigation
    • Information, Referral, & Advocacy
    • Safety, Security, Finances, & Personal Planning
    • Social Connectedness / Social Isolation
    • Transportation
    • Physical Activity
    • Food & Nutritional Support
    • Food Security and Nutritional Supports
  • Audience
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
    • Government (Politicians, Policy Makers) and Health Authorities
    • Funders
    • Academics
    • Caregivers, Seniors & Volunteers
    • Government
    • Health Authorities
  • Category
    • Best Practices
    • Policy, Planning, & Procedures
    • Transportation


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