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Critical Review of an Article on Social Prescribing Schemes

Section One: CASP Literature Review Appraisal Model

A systematic review involves formulated questions that use explicit ways to appraise relevant research data, extracting and analyzing data from different studies included in the article review (Long et al., 2020). CASP checklist model is a tool outlined to use when conducting an appraisal for systematic reviews, random controlled trials, case-control studies, and other pieces of research. This model contains ten questions to test health research’s validity, results, and relevance (Buus & Perron, 2020). The results are determined if they are valid, reliable, and applicable in helping care for patients.

A critical appraisal helps minimize the burden and allows one to concentrate on articles significant to the research question. CASP is the appropriate tool for this systematic review because it can face relevant questions or headings. CASP has been a tool known to appraise health-related work used to highlight research methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, hence deemed appropriate for this study (Long et al., 2020). Equally important, the ten questions are very relevant in developing a conclusion about the research.

CASP is also appropriate because it is considered user-friendly and endorsed by organizations such as the World Health Organization (Chin et al., 2020). The quality of this appraisal tool is, therefore, one that can be endorsed by health officials depending on the reported details. In addition, this tool has also been an initiative to promote transparency in the research field and reporting standards (Ma et al., 2020). Different appraisal techniques do not emphasize the procedural features of any study or the details to be reported. Moreover, CASP helps researchers identify if an article is worth continuing with depending on the references used by the authors.

Section Two: Critique of the Review

Did the research convey a focused investigation?

The study was majorly concerned about social prescribing in the UK, especially pressure on the country’s resources, leading to financial constraints (Skivington et al., 2018). The number of articles and reports on social prescribing schemes was eighty-sixed. The study’s intervention was that some of the articles comprised 17 quantitative methods, 16 qualitative, seven mixed techniques, 40 primary research materials, and nine articles on prescription. The comparison was used for comparing and finding the benefits of the social prescribing schemes. This population was deemed not so helpful in developing a better evidence base.

The outcomes were that the benefits included a rise in confidence and self-esteem, self-responsibility, and self-control (Long et al., 2020). Similarly, the patients were also interested in learning new skills and improving sociability and communication skills. There was also an enhancement of mental well-being, reduction in depression and anxiety, development of physical health, and other benefits.

Did the authors study the right kind of papers?

The study focused on the right papers related to the review on the benefits of social prescribing to the patient and referrer in the UK. The research design was a great one since it comprised of 6 randomized controlled trials (Al-Lamee et al., 2018). However, the articles did have some defects, such as almost half of them did not focus on the quantitative methods, and they covered mostly on the referral exercise. The qualitative approach articles did not have reports from baseline, making it difficult to develop the impacts on the sample population (Chatterjee et al., 2017).

Some articles used a smaller sample population without indicating the power calculations on the findings, while others did not constitute information related to the UK. Other articles had no substantial analysis due to comparing percentages and means and not stating the differences, while others had no analyses due to inaccurate (Chatterjee et al., 2017). Other articles had no substantial analysis due to comparing percentages and means and not stating the differences, while others had no analyses due to inaccurate. Therefore, this article did not have a good evidence base, making the recommendation for future evaluators to look into the matter despite developing the benefits.

Do you think all the significant, relevant studies were studied?

The study used peer-reviewed journals and reports concerning the UK social prescribing schemes. These schemes included books, arts, exercise, and education to refer patients to non-clinical intervention. The reference lists also constitute relevant studies related to or supporting the review by other authors. Much about a personal connection with the experts have not been mentioned since all the articles were sourced from electronic databases. The study constituted of evaluated articles and reports, while the non-evaluated ones were not considered (Blanco et al., 2019). All the articles and research were English studies, and most of them constituted of the UK community.

Were the reviews done by the authors adequate to test the quality of the mentioned studies?

The article review was extremely thorough and careful to consider the highlights and the research gaps they discovered. This article carefully explains the sample size of the articles and reports used. The classifications of the type of articles, when clearly stated, makes it easier to get the findings and conclusions (Snyder, 2019). These specifics have helped develop the benefits of social prescribing to the patients and referrers. The articles were all done on studies that constituted patients and clients as the only participants in giving responses and those in the English language.

The evaluated articles and reports help reviewers develop important information on the topic and realize the challenges witnessed while collecting the information (Geerligs et al., 2018). Some did not have the right method of collecting data, a smaller sample size, and other challenges. The outcomes are evidence of the review of the different studies done by various researchers. The review of the article is keen on emphasizing the recommendation for people interested in future evaluations. The review constituted of thematic analysis that helped focus on identifiable topics.

If the study results happen to be combined, is it reasonable to do so?

The study results were different because they depended on the kind of social prescription, the needs of the patients, assets available for evaluation, and why they were referred. The measured outcomes included the patients’ mental and physical well-being, life quality, behavior, and physical changes. The results are clearly displayed, and one can understand the benefits of the social prescription. There might be results from different studies that are similar such as the patient’s response to their mental well-being. The variations in the outcomes are stated but not discussed.

Some employed a qualitative approach, others the quantitative approach, others mixed methods and primary research materials. Some conclusions can be drawn, such as some of these studies do not use the same data collection from the patients and referrers and patients’ needs are different. Husk et al. (2019) emphasize that the kind of social prescription and available resources for the evaluation process could differ for each.

What are the general results of the review?

The review describes the benefits of the social prescription to the patients and referrers. Thorough and clear results into better interpretations and preciseness of the evaluation of the conducted studies (Munn et al., 2018). Out of the eight-six articles, more than half of them were considered to have no published evaluation, and the other half contained evaluated materials of primary research. 42% contained quantitative methods, 40% qualitative methods, and 18% used mixed methods. The smallest sample contained ten people, and the largest consisted of 6541 people. The data collection methods amongst most of the studies were interviewed focus groups, surveys, and questionnaires. The studies involved collecting data from patients, and some conducted interviews with health practitioners and facilitators.

How specific are the results?

The review presents the comparison and findings of the different articles. The primary finding was that social prescribing has proven beneficial to the patients and referrers (Heijnders & Meijs, 2017). The displayed results can theoretically be concluded that the benefits are visible in the patients. The results have made it easier to develop a conclusion. Therefore, the results can be addressed as quite specific. The outcomes include improving their mental well-being by reducing anxiety and improving their self-esteem and confidence, improving physical health, reducing visits to receive general health care, increasing their sociability and communication skills, and increasing the need to acquire new skills.

Are the results applicable to the local people?

The results displayed in the review apply to the local population in that they are all relatable. Similarly, the schemes are also related to the mental health of adults’ departments. The outcomes drawn have also helped to acknowledge there is no need to cause concern. The concern for this review is centered on adults who are suffering from mental health, a concern that has been affecting public health in recent years. Also, the resources such as questions and interview equipment used to implement the intervention were essential.

There is a need for reviews to meet the ethical standards, and the committee may be answerable in case of ethical concerns (Falb et al., 2019). The review also does not violate the social norms in the community. Therefore, the local population might accept the intervention. The contents are also appropriate for the local culture, and the local population has the educational level to understand the intervention.

Were all the significant outcomes considered?

The review proved that the social prescription was beneficial to the patients and the referrers. Nonetheless, patients and referrers are not guaranteed to enjoy their stay in those non-clinical communities (Featherstone et al., 2021). The results did not reveal such cases, which leads to the concern of the limitations of social prescribing. The results could be affected by their experiences or interactions with people who have been there. In short, the article provides the benefits but does not include information about the dissatisfaction patients face in those places (Tierney et al., 2020).

Are the benefits worth the costs and harm?

The reviewers discovered the benefits of social prescribing to the patients and referrers. Such research greatly impacts those families considering enrolling their patients in such forums. They help them prepare for the experiences to be encountered and how to embrace them once they are there. However, the issue can be discussed further to obtain more benefits, especially to the referrer (Redmond et al., 2018). Health practitioners and officials can help improve the patients’ experience in such set-ups once more research has been done.


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