Sometimes, what’s getting people down might be more than their condition.

Long term illnesses can lead to a range of other physical, mental and emotional problems. There’s not always a tablet that you can take to deal with these extra symptoms.

Often, what people need can be found within community services rather than within the NHS itself.

Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals can refer patients to these additional services, which can include garden-based activities, aromatherapy, cooking and nutritional advice or the arts. Community organisations are also able to access legal advice for their service users.

The concept of NHS staff signposting patients to third party schemes is known as “social prescribing”.

For someone with dementia, gardening, arts, music and well-being are among the many additional services that patients may benefit from.

Why access these services? 

It is understood that long-term illness can lead to depression, anxiety and sleep problems. This is certainly well known among people living with dementia.

Community programmes or support groups help to improve mood by getting patients out and about, and also goes a long way to decreasing loneliness. Studies have also shown that social prescribing can enhance quality of life.

There is also some evidence to suggest participation in community programmes can also reduce visits to the doctor or A&E admissions.

Referring Patients to Me2U Centre

We are all sadly aware that NHS services are stretched beyond their capacity, and medics do their best to support patients within the confines of their services.

With social prescribing, patients are directed to organisations that are better placed to deliver innovative methods and more holistic solutions to care.

A case in point is Me2U Centre.

The centre is able to provide emergency care for people who need it, for example, if someone is in a crisis situation.

We also provide outreach work to the community. As day centres do not suit all, we are introducing an outreach service to spend time with clients in their own homes and give carers that much needed respite.

We not only ensure clients are engaged and stimulated, but we also support clients and carers with complex physical health needs.