The National Association of Link Workers has published the following FAQs to help inform the wider community about the role of Social Prescribing Link Workers.
What is a Social Prescribing Link Worker?
A Social Prescribing Link Worker is someone who uses strength-based approach to increase people’s confidence to take control of their health and wellbeing. They work in partnership with people, actively listening to understand what matters to them from a holistic perspective (social and wider determinants of health), cocreating action plans and goals to meet their needs. This means they need to gain and maintain people’s trust and confidence.
Who can be a Social Prescribing Link Worker?
Social Prescribing Link Workers come from a variety of backgrounds; community, lay, volunteering, wellbeing, public health, advocacy, health and social care. The skills and experience required to fulfil the role should be informed by the local challenges addressed through social prescribing and the outcomes desired. In addition to skills, knowledge and personal attributes highlighted in the link worker report and code of practice for high quality social prescribing practice, the social prescribing link worker needs to be approachable, patient and trustworthy.
Is Social Prescribing Link Worker’s role similar to other roles such as Social Worker or Occupational Therapist?
It is only recently that a dedicated person is in this type of role. Prior to this there was often crossover from the helping professions that work in the community, health and social care delivering some aspects or light touches of the role. The role is broader than a single profession, it cuts across many, hence its uniqueness. This is not about role substitution but about Multi-Disciplinary team working to deliver seamless holistic service to the person.
Which job title is best to use?
The term ‘Link Worker’ is an umbrella term we use to describe those in this role. Social prescribing programmes use a variety of names to describe link workers based on local decisions and use the terms community, navigator, link worker and social prescribing most.
Do you have examples of Social Prescribing?
See Social Prescribing Link Worker day showcase gallery and presentation for examples of Social Prescribing.