Health and Social Care

Health and social care covers a wide range of issues including social welfare, housing, child protection, public health, education, the elderly, mental illness and physical disabilities. The discipline involves a combination of social science, psychology, biology and law as well as clinical and practical skills. A degree in health and social care can lead to a variety of careers such as nursing, social work, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. It is possible to gain relevant experience by doing a work placement as part of your studies, for example in a residential home, nursing home or hospital.

Many health problems have underlying social causes, and social services are in a unique position to improve medical care by addressing those root causes. Increasingly, health system leaders and their partners are recognizing this and investing in integrated social care initiatives. These efforts range from screening patients for social risk factors and referring them to community services, to integrating social services with patient navigation programs, and to using cross-sector technology referral platforms to connect patients with food, employment and other resources.

However, many barriers remain. Those barriers include the need for validated measures of social risk, alignment of incentives at both national and local levels to align interests across sectors and to scale up best practices, and infrastructure that facilitates collaboration. To overcome these barriers, the National Academies recommend that federal policies encourage communities to establish partnerships with their health systems and private-sector investors to collaborate to address identified community gaps in social care. health and social care

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