Social prescribing for people living with dementia (PLWD) and their carers: what works, for whom, under what circumstances and why – protocol for a complex intervention systematic review

Jessica Marshall, Evie Papavasiliou, Chris Fox, Matthew Hawkes, Anne Irvine, Esme Moniz-Cook, Aimee Pick, Marie J. Polley, Joanne Reeve, Louise Robinson, George Rook, Euan Sadler, Emma Wolverson, Sarah Walker, Jane L. Cross, the SPLENDID Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Introduction: Dementia is a complex medical condition that poses significant challenges to healthcare systems and support services. People living with dementia (PLWD) and their carers experience complex needs often exacerbated by social isolation and challenges in accessing support. Social prescribing (SP) seeks to enable PLWD and their carers to access community and voluntary sector resources to support them address such needs. Existing research, however, does not describe what SP interventions are currently in place in dementia care. Little is known about the needs these interventions are designed to address, the reasons that lead PLWD and their carers to participate in them, their effectiveness and the extent to which they could increase positive health outcomes if adopted and how.

Methods and analysis: A complex intervention systematic review of SP for PLWD and/or their carers will be conducted using an iterative logic model approach. Six electronic (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Scopus and Cochrane/CENTRAL) and two grey literature databases (EThOS and CORE) were searched for publications between 1 January 2003 and June 2023, supplemented by handsearching of reference lists of included studies. Study selection, data extraction and risk of bias assessment, using Gough’s Weight of Evidence Framework, will be independently performed by two reviewers. A narrative approach will be employed to synthesise and report quantitative and qualitative data. Reporting will be informed by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Complex Interventions extension statement and checklist.

Ethics and dissemination: No ethical approval is required due to this systematic review operating only with secondary sources. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and meetings with key stakeholders including healthcare professionals, patient and carer groups, community organisations (eg, the Social Prescribing Network and the Evidence Collaborative at the National Academy for Social Prescribing), policymakers and funding bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere080551
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2024

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