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Co-mapping a strategy towards efficient Social Prescription for older adults in Europe

21/10/2020

On October 1st, 2020 the Long Lasting Memories Care (LLM Care) Ecosystem, a unique Transnational Reference Site (Greece, Cyprus) of EIPonAHA (cand. ref site since 2016, 2 starred since 2019), held a virtual workshop, entitled “Co-mapping a strategy towards efficient Social Prescription for older adults in Europe”, with the active participation of more than 60 attendees and enlightening talks given by invited speakers across Europe; experts in the fields of Active and Healthy Ageing, co-creation and social prescription.

 

Aims of the workshop

The workshop deployed virtual means, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was organised by the LLM Care Ecosystem coordination organization, the Medical Physics Laboratory, School of Medicine of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), as part of the 2020 EIPonAHA Thematic Workshop Series.

The main objective of the workshop was to raise awareness of Social Prescription, as a flourishing, alternative care model in Europe, highlighting its benefits for older adults and chronic patients.  Social prescription enables GPs, nurses and other primary care professionals to refer older adults to a range of non-clinical services, such as innovative person-centered designed digital solutions and citizens’ science life-long learning initiatives for promoting Active & Healthy Ageing and supporting older adults’ independent living. In this framework, it is essential to explore opportunities and challenges towards the establishment of concrete policy frameworks across the EU, as well as to highlight the necessary skills and knowledge that healthcare professionals should receive in order to exploit such new and innovative methods of care and combine them for support of older adults/chronic patients with traditional ones.

 

Main findings

LLM Care Ecosystem Coordinator and AUTH School of Medicine Professor Panagiotis Bamidis, representing the RS and Greece, presented a series of citizens’ science initiatives, run by the LLM Care Ecosystem and the AUTH Medical Physics Lab in the past few years, towards healthcare digital transformation and social prescription policies. Prof. Bamidis emphasised on the importance of bridging the gaps among different types of stakeholders in the same ecosystem (citizens, scientists, policymakers) for the promotion on new models of social care, which can improve the resilience and the quality of life within a community. A detailed presentation by the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) focused on the value of co-creation and the involvement of all the Quadruple Helix actors in the transformation of healthcare and the introduction of socially innovative policies for health & well-being.

During the workshop, four best-example case studies of social prescription initiatives in an equal number of European countries like-Cyprus (AMEN Nursing Home), Belgium (LiCalab), Spain (MINDLab/INTRAS), Romania (Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca)- were presented. Specifically, except for Cyprus (which is quite close to accomplish the establishment of a legal framework on Social Prescription with the local authorities), the rest of the invited countries, including Greece, presented individual initiatives of academic and healthcare research actors, since the maturity in social prescription in their national level is still remarkably low. LiCalab and MINDLab/INTRAS invited organisations emphasised the role of Living Labs and their best practice cases as a stepping-stone to social inclusion and social prescription policies. On the other hand, the example of Romania highlighted the opportunities and threats behind the transformation of traditional healthcare systems and the introduction of new approaches.

An interactive session, based on the EIPonAHA Blueprint Personas of older adults, followed, providing the opportunity to attendees to start an open discussion on the topic of “social prescription”, reflecting their insights, views and concerns on the alternative means of care and social health support strategies that could be exploited in different, potential use-case scenarios. Positive remarks were received by participants, with a request for follow-up session on the topic.

Related action groups: 
A1 Adherence to prescription, A2 Falls prevention, A3 Lifespan Health Promotion & Prevention of Age Related Frailty and Disease, B3 Integrated care, C2 Independent living solutions, D4 Age friendly environments
Relevance to partnership: 
Active ageing and independent living, Care and cure, Horizontal issues and framework conditions, Prevention, screening and early diagnosis