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Health Soc Care Community. 2015 Sep;23(5):467-84. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12176. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

A scoping review to understand the effectiveness of linking schemes from healthcare providers to community resources to improve the health and well-being of people with long-term conditions.

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Centre for Primary Care, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
NIHR CLAHRC Wessex, Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester, Centre for Primary Care, Institute of Population Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.


The prevalence of people living with long-term conditions is increasing, accompanied by an increased expectation that patients will become more involved in self-management. Long-term conditions are associated with increased social isolation and poor physical and mental health. But there remains a gap in health provision between providing medical treatment and effectively addressing psychosocial well-being. One potential way of addressing this gap is by utilising social interventions which link patients from health services to community-based sources of support. However, the mechanisms involved in the delivery of interventions providing that link and their effectiveness remain unclear. This review adopted the methodological framework for conducting scoping studies, searching for both academic and grey literature on social interventions which link people from healthcare settings to a range of community and voluntary sector organisations. A literature search between May and June 2013, involving five electronic databases, hand searching of two journals and the use of Google search engine, identified seven studies relevant to the review question. In terms of key characteristics and mechanisms of the interventions, mental health conditions and social isolation were the most common reasons for referral to the interventions, and referrals were usually made through general practices. Almost all the interventions were facilitator-led, whereby the facilitator worked to identify and link participants to appropriate community-based resources. In regard to health and social outcomes and their cost-effectiveness, studies reported improvement to participants' psychological and social well-being as well as their decreased use of health services, although there were limited measures of participants' physical health outcomes. Interventions for linking patients from healthcare setting to community-based resources target and address psychosocial needs of participants. The review identified involvement of health professionals in aiding the referral of patients to the intervention and the role of the intervention facilitators as key components of the interventions.


access to support; community; long-term condition; primary care; social intervention

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