Key points

Person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing have significant potential to improve outcomes for individuals, support the development of strong and resilient communities and, over time, help reduce demand on formal health and social care services. There is evidence from both research and practice to demonstrate the benefits of person- and community-centred approaches, across three dimensions of value:

  • Mental and physical health and wellbeing: Person- and community-centred approaches have been shown to increase people’s self-efficacy and confidence to manage their health and care, improve health outcomes and experience, to reduce social isolation and loneliness, and build community capacity and resilience, among other outcomes.
  • NHS sustainability: These approaches can impact how people use health and care services and can lead to reduced demand on services, such as emergency admissions and A&E visits.
  • Wider social outcomes: Person- and community-centred approaches can lead to a wide range of social outcomes, from improving employment prospects and school attendance to increasing volunteering. They also can potentially contribute to reducing health inequalities for individuals and communities.

In this report, Nesta and the Health Foundation are strengthening the case for people taking an active role in their health and care. We are identifying evidence-based approaches that engage people and communities, and developing tools to support implementation across the NHS and local communities.

This report explores the value of people and communities at the heart of health, in support of the NHS Five Year Forward View vision to develop a new relationship with people and communities. It brings together a wide range of person- and community-centred approaches for health and wellbeing. It provides an overview of the existing evidence base with a particular focus on the potential benefits of adopting person- and community-centred approaches. It also describes where there are gaps in the evidence and where we need to know more.

We intend the report to be a practical resource to support the work of commissioners, providers, communities and others seeking to find ways to empower individuals and communities in their health and care. In addition, we hope that it will help commissioners, policymakers and practitioners to understand the range of approaches available, some of the key components and their potential to improve health and wellbeing outcomes, NHS sustainability and social value.

Alongside the main report, we have also published two annexes produced by the Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University: a scoping review of the evidence base and evidence summaries for five shortlisted approaches. These are also available on the Nesta website.

Further reading

Research report

Spreading change

September 2016
Research report

This guide outlines how behavioural science can help spread the take-up of person- and...

Research report

Supporting self-management

September 2016
Research report

This guide outlines how the science of behaviour can help people to self-manage their health and...

Research report

Making the change

March 2016
Research report

Drawing on robust studies of what influences behaviour, this report sets out a number of factors...

You might also like...

Improvement project

What matters to you? Putting people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in control of their care

Improvement project

This project will create partnerships, led by people living with IBD, to design services and deliver...

Improvement project

Improving health services with homeless people in Brighton

Improvement project

This project is aiming to improve health services for homeless and vulnerably housed people in...

Press release

Welcome investment to accelerate the use of AI and technology in health and care

Press release

Health Foundation response to the government’s new Artificial Intelligence Award for health and...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

Systemic weaknesses in the health service are making it hard for the UK to cope with the latest surge of COVID-19 p… https://t.co/Ss6EdA6nqj

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more