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iCare-funded initiative delivers social and economic benefits

Mar 13, 2020

An iCare Foundation-funded initiative has been recognised for its groundbreaking social prescribing approach that improves the quality of life for injured workers with health and psychosocial needs.

The model of care involves medical and wellbeing professionals assessing and referring people with health and psychosocial needs to non-medical services to help them reduce isolation and disadvantage.

An evaluation of Plus Social’s pilot study by Southern Cross University found that psychosocial interventions, such as those enabled by Plus Social, encourage optimism and connectedness that can promote workplace injury recovery and improve wellbeing.

The program, coordinated by Primary and Community Care Services, was found to have resulted in significant and meaningful improvements in all measures of biopsychosocial wellbeing, as well as in work readiness, Certificate of Capacity hours, social participation, and in reducing health service utilization of participants, the review found. Furthermore, those who participated in the program displayed greater self-awareness, social supports, and ability to cope with the effects of their workplace injury and employment loss.

“There is growing international evidence that social isolation can negatively affect health and wellbeing and we are committed to finding innovative ways to rebuild connection to aid recovery,” said Sara Kahlau, Group Executive Customer and Community at iCare. “Therefore, the iCare Foundation invested $1.4 million seed funding in the social prescribing pilot initiative between 2017 and 2019… Through our investment in the Plus Social pilot, we supported injured workers by connecting them to a range of engaging 12-week programs to help aid their recovery and assist with their return to work.”

The iCare Foundation Social Impact Report found that every dollar invested in the Plus Social prescribing program delivered social and economic benefits worth $3.80.

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