There is growing evidence financial wellbeing impacts on health. Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, health and care professionals are reporting an increase in the number of patients presenting with conditions potentially caused or exacerbated by money worries.
It is well documented that money worries can increase mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, but health and care professionals are also reporting seeing increasing numbers of patients concerned about the cost of prescriptions, or the cost of travel to attend hospital appointments.
This is leading to situations where patients may choose not to attend appointments or pay for prescriptions.
Even more worryingly, they may take out of date medication, or medication prescribed for someone else.
These situations have the potential to cause delays in diagnosis or treatment, or to lead to side-effects from taking incorrect medication.
With the cost-of-living crisis set to continue for some time, it does not look like this situation will change soon, which is a concern.
Understanding that an individual's health needs can often arise from circumstances beyond the purely medical is a key principle of personalised care.
If we are to move to a sustainable model of preventative healthcare, then person-centred conversations designed to help us understand all aspects of a person's life are crucial.
We need to be able to support and equip people with the tools to manage their own health and wellbeing.
With an increasing number of patients presenting with money worries, personalised care approaches are essential to help people with their financial wellbeing, alongside their physical and mental wellbeing.
Research recently carried out by the Personalised Care Institute (PCI), the NHS-endorsed body for personalised care education and training, and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) showed 5 in 10 health and care professionals believe money problems have caused more health issues in the past six months.
But 9 in 10 professionals lacked confidence in having financial wellbeing conversations with patients.
The reasons they cited for this included feeling it's not their place, fear of causing embarrassment and worrying they would not have the answers.
More than 7 in 10 health and care professionals surveyed also believed supporting patients with money issues earlier may prevent health problems further down the road.
The same proportion said they would welcome training on how to use personalised care approaches to inform conversations about financial wellbeing.
With this being the case, the PCI and MaPS have teamed up to create the Money Talk Toolkit.
Our aim is to reduce the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on people’s health, by equipping health and care professionals with the tools they need to identify problems beyond the purely medical.
The Money Talk Toolkit
The Money Talk Toolkit has been designed to equip health and care professionals with the personalised care conversation skills they need to support patients who are struggling with their financial wellbeing.
It offers a collection of free training and resources on how to start financial wellbeing conversations with patients, what information to provide to patients, and how to signpost patients to effective support services.
It includes, but is not limited to:
- Guidance and examples on how to approach financial wellbeing conversations with patients such as the ‘Ask, Assist, Act’ technique
- The Money in Mind tool which sets out a range of questions for exploring any money-related issues a patient might be experiencing
- Welfare benefits calculators which patients can use to find out what financial support they may be entitled to
- Job and career services to help patients access work and support those who are experiencing issues at work that may be impacting on their health
Designed for all health and care professionals, it can be accessed 24/7 via the PCI website here.
Health and care professionals who would like to proactively develop their personalised care skills, in areas such as Shared Decision making or Personalised Care and Support Planning, can also access a range of high quality, peer-reviewed free training and resources on the Personalised Care Institute website here.