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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Health Benefits of Primary Care Social Work for Adults with Complex Health and Social Needs: A Systematic Review
Author(s): McGregor, Julia
Mercer, Stewart W
Harris, Fiona Margaret
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Keywords: chronic health problems
health-related social work
primary healthcare
psychosocial interventions
Issue Date: Jan-2018
Citation: McGregor J, Mercer SW & Harris FM (2018) Health Benefits of Primary Care Social Work for Adults with Complex Health and Social Needs: A Systematic Review, Health and Social Care in the Community, 26 (1), pp. 1-13.
Abstract: The prevalence of complex health and social needs in primary care patients is growing. Furthermore, recent research suggests that the impact of psychosocial distress on the significantly poorer health outcomes in this population may have been underestimated. The potential of social work in primary care settings has been extensively discussed in both health and social work literature and there is evidence that social work interventions in other settings are particularly effective in addressing psychosocial needs. However, the evidence base for specific improved health outcomes related to primary care social work is minimal. This review aimed to identify and synthesise the available evidence on the health benefits of social work interventions in primary care settings. Nine electronic databases were searched from 1990 to 2015 and seven primary research studies were retrieved. Due to the heterogeneity of studies, a narrative synthesis was conducted. Although there is no definitive evidence for effectiveness, results suggest a promising role for primary care social work interventions in improving health outcomes. These include subjective health measures and self-management of long-term conditions, reducing psychosocial morbidity and barriers to treatment and health maintenance. Although few rigorous study designs were found, the contextual detail and clinical settings of studies provide evidence of the practice applicability of social work intervention. Emerging policy on the integration of health and social care may provide an opportunity to develop this model of care.
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Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: McGregor, J., Mercer, S. W. and Harris, F. M. (2018), Health benefits of primary care social work for adults with complex health and social needs: a systematic review. Health and Social Care in the Community, 26: 1–13, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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