An individual's social support comes from their own unique social network. The quality of these networks can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of people living with long-term conditions. There is an increasing body of evidence demonstrating that an individual's social network can enable people to self-manage and maintain social integration and individual identity.
Unlike peer support, social support is informal and the quality will vary from person to person. While the value of an individual’s social network is becoming increasingly recognised as having an impact on health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly for people with complex co-morbidities, little is often known, shared or recorded by the primary care team.
Dr Jessica Young, a researcher at the University of Otago, has been leading some work on the development and testing of ‘care maps’ in primary care settings. A care map is a tool designed to facilitate a conversation and capture information about a person’s social network and provide a holistic view of the person’s lived experience and the effects of care from different sources. To find out more about social networks and care maps watch Jessica's webinar or follow this link to watch other relevant webinars. A training plan and handout for social networks is included in the training modules under SMS overview.
Webinar about care maps
The following webinar explains the research behind care maps and how care maps can be used within primary care teams by Jessica Young.