'Green Scripts' helps connect Ballarat GPs to dementia-inclusive activities
In 2019, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) reported that 70% of GPs believe referring patients to community activities, groups or services helps to improve health outcomes. The benefits of this referral or ‘social prescribing’ to quality of life and overall well-being are immense and are well-supported by evidence-based research. Yet most GP’s do not have links with relevant services.
Recognising the need, the Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance in Ballarat applied for, and was awarded a Dementia Australia Community Engagement Project grant in 2020. With $10,000 in grant funding, the alliance undertook their proposed ’Green Scripts’ project.
The goal of Green Scripts is to connect people impacted by dementia with established and emerging dementia-inclusive community activities in Ballarat. This is achieved via social prescribing, where a healthcare worker recommends suitable community activities that are likely to improve the physical, emotional and social well-being of community members living with dementia.
The 'Green Scripts' online resource supports both primary health care practitioners and community members to locate appropriate activities such as the dementia-friendly sensory trail in the Woowookarung Regional Park. This sensory trail was also an initiative of Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance, with support from Parks Victoria and numerous local volunteers.
Mark Yates, Associate Professor in Aged Care, Rehabilitation & Palliative Care at Deakin University, is a member of the Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance and believes Green Scripts will give primary care providers an accessible resource on social prescribing to share with their patients.
"There are many really good dementia-focused resources developed by volunteer and community groups, but it is often difficult to get them promoted in primary care. Social prescribing is a great vehicle to engage with the primary care sector," Associate Professor Yates said.
Green Scripts was recently added to the Australian Disease Management Association’s directory of social prescribing projects.
For more info, visit biggerhearts.com.au.
Are you interested in what this could look like in your community?
The first step is to become a Dementia Friend. Find out more at dementiafriendly.org.au or call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.