Renewed Policy Emphasis on Social Prescribing and Arts Therapies? (DHSC / NHS England / Cochrane Database / JGCR / Dementia)


Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, takes a positive view of social prescribing, including greater use the arts and social activities as means of enhancing health and wellbeing.

“…we will create a National Academy for Social Prescribing to be the champion of, build the research base, and set out the benefits of social prescribing across the board, from the arts to physical exercise, to nutritional advice and community classes”.

Full Text Link


The power of the arts and social activities to improve the nation’s health: Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock speaks to the King’s Fund about the benefits of social prescribing. [Online]: Department of Health and Social Care, November 6th 2018.

Social Prescribing Link Workers

NHS England has supplied information about how Primary Care Networks (PCNs) can introduce social prescribing link workers into their multi-disciplinary teams (under planned expansion of the primary care workforce, as specified in GP contract reforms).

Full Text Link


Social prescribing link workers: reference guide for primary care networks. London: NHS England / Personalised Care Group, July 30th 2019.

Resource Pack for Social Prescriber Link Workers (NHS England)

NHS England has released a “welcome pack” of for social prescribing link workers .

Full Text Link


Social Prescribing Link Worker welcome pack. [Online]: NHS England, September 5th 2019.

There is also a Patient Information Quick Summary leaflet.

Limited Evidence on Art Therapies for People With Dementia

In practice, existing evidence regarding the efficacy of arts-based therapies for helping persons living with dementia remains far from clear or settled. More research is required.

Full Text Link


Deshmukh, SR. Holmes, J. [and] Cardno, A. (2018). Art therapy for people with dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. September 13th 2018; 9: CD011073. Review.

There is also an Executive Summary.

What Counts As Evidence?

The American Psychiatric Association considers non-pharmacological therapies to be the “treatment of choice” for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), despite there being a dearth of robust evidence for non-pharmacological therapies generally for people with dementia

Full Text Link


Maki, Y. (2018). A reappraisal of the evidence of non-pharmacological intervention for people with dementia. Journal of Geriatric Care and Research (JGCR). 2018, Vol.5(2): pp.41-42.

USA: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Possibly of interest, a contribution for consideration by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Full Text Link


Committee on Care Interventions for Individuals with Dementia and Their Caregivers, Board on Health Sciences Policy, Health and Medicine Division, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018). Considerations for the design of a systematic review of care interventions for individuals with dementia and their caregivers: letter report. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); December 5th 2018.

Arts for Health Activities in Care Homes

Possibly of interest, there is a systematic review on the impact of arts for health activities in care homes. This study is more positive about the benefits, in terms of enhancing quality of life, health and wellbeing; psychological functioning; cognition; social relationships; improving the ability to continue learning throughout life; and fostering residents’ personal creativity:

Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).


Curtis, A. Gibson, L. [and] O’Brien, M. [et al] (2018). Systematic review of the impact of arts for health activities on health, wellbeing and quality of life of older people living in care homes. Dementia. August 2018; 17(6): 645-669.

Methodological and Phenomenological / Hermeneutic Issues: Alternative Philosophical and Cultural Viewpoints Unlikely to Be Resolved Soon

Attempts to square the circle. Consideration is given to the methodological challenges, and the various hidden assumptions at play, in attempts to evaluate research into the value of arts for persons with dementia:

Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).


Gray, K. Evans, SC. [and] Griffiths, A. [et al] (2018). Critical reflections on methodological challenge in arts and dementia evaluation and research. Dementia. August 2018; 17(6): 775-784.


About Dementia and Elderly Care News

Dementia and Elderly Care News. Wolverhampton Medical Institute: WMI. (jh)
This entry was posted in Charitable Bodies, Commissioning, Community Care, Department of Health, Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), For Carers (mostly), For Nurses and Therapists (mostly), For Researchers (mostly), For Social Workers (mostly), In the News, Integrated Care, King's Fund, Management of Condition, Mental Health, Models of Dementia Care, National, Non-Pharmacological Treatments, Person-Centred Care, Personalisation, Quick Insights, Systematic Reviews, UK, Universal Interest and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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