Community is the best medicine: UK town cuts hospital admissions – with social program

Emergency hospital admissions in the UK town of Frome have fallen by 17 per cent thanks to an innovative program aiming to combat social isolation. 

The Compassionate Frome project was created by local GP Helen Kingston in 2013, with the aim of breaking the cycle of people falling ill and being unable to socialise, which then leads to worsening physical and mental health. 

They set up agencies to help people build support networks of family, friends and neighbours and get involved in community activities such as choirs, walking groups, men’s sheds and other social activities. 

The result? Hospital admissions dropped over the three years of the program, compared to a 29 per cent rise for the rest of the region. The project also slashed health care costs by 21 per cent. 

As we reported here, social connectedness has been shown to have a bigger impact on health than giving up smoking, cutting drinking and losing excess weight. 

So could we one day be given a prescription for an afternoon at the pub with our mates? 

While there’s no ‘quick fix’ for health issues, researchers studying the Frome findings say it is promising. 

Proof friends really are lifesavers. 

https://www.agedcare101.com.au/contributors/annie-donaldson  
https://www.agedcare101.com.au/contributors/jill-donaldson-care  

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A special thanks to our contributors

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Antonia Norris

Researcher and Contributor

Antonia has led the operations and growth of the agedcare101.com.au and villages.com.au within the DCM Group in Australia and New Zealand for several years. This has included the research and creation agedcare101 in 2016, the creation of the DCM Institute and Te Ara Institute, the joint contribution of Care & Living with Mercer (CaLM) and the TV series, The Best 30 Years, screened on NINE nationally.

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Journalist

Journalist

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

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Ian Horswill

Journalist

Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

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Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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Jill Donaldson

Physiotherapist

Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

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Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

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Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.