Examining the impact of a social prescribing service on the health & wellbeing of individuals living with and beyond cancer
Citation:O'HARA, CHLOE, Examining the impact of a social prescribing service on the health & wellbeing of individuals living with and beyond cancer, Trinity College Dublin.School of Medicine, 2021
Social prescribing is a community-based intervention that supports individuals with health needs and chronic conditions to access activities supports in their community. Due to medical improvements, more people than ever are living beyond cancer diagnosis and treatment and there are currently over 150,000 cancer survivors in Ireland. Cancer survivors experience persistent symptoms post-treatment, including fatigue, pain, anxiety and depression, and this in turn impacts negatively upon their activity participation. Social prescribing may offer accessible, community-based support to individuals living with cancer and support them to engage in a variety of activities. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of social prescribing on the quality of life, mental health, activity participation and fatigue levels of individuals living with and beyond cancer, and to explore the experiences and perceptions of cancer survivors following engagement in social prescribing. To achieve this aim, a mixed methods concurrent parallel research design was utilised. For the quantitative strand, a pre-test/post-test study design was adopted, utilising four outcome measures: the European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core-30, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Frenchay Activities Index and the Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue. For the qualitative strand, individual semi-structured interviews were completed with the same sample of participants. Forty-three participants completed the pre-intervention outcome measures. Sixteen participants were lost to follow-up. Twenty-seven participants completed both pre- and post-test outcome measures and a follow-up qualitative interview. Five statistically significant results were obtained: the EORTC QLQ-C30 Functional Quality of Life domain, the HADS Depression subscale, the FAI Work and Leisure Activity Participation subscale, the FAI Total Activity Participation Score, and the MAF Distress Related to Fatigue domain. Qualitative data supported these findings and provided context to cancer survivors? experiences and perspectives of social prescribing, including barriers to activity engagement, the role of the link worker and the benefit of ongoing support. The impact of social prescribing on other domains including confidence, motivation, and routine was described by participants. This is the first academic study to examine the impact of social prescribing on individuals living with and beyond cancer. With the absence of a control and a high attrition rate taken into consideration, social prescribing was found to significantly impact functional quality of life, presence of depressive symptoms, activity participation and psychosocial impacts of fatigue. Further research is required to determine the acceptability of social prescribing as an intervention for cancer survivors, however, there is evidence within this study to suggest it may make an impact on the health and well-being of this population. Recommendations for further research to validate these findings are outlined.
Irish Cancer Society
Author: O'HARA, CHLOE
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Medicine. Discipline of Occupational Therapy
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available