Effective Reablement Within Homecare

July 4, 2014

Effective Reablement within homecareOn the 22nd July, Skills for Care and the College of Occupational Therapists are hosting a conference entitled “Getting the best from your reablement service”.

I know many providers are keen to work in partnership with Local Authorities to develop short term reablement services for older people. Increasing demand upon adult social care services requires a shift in culture from generic ‘Domiciliary Care’ to alternative ‘Community Reablement’ that delivers an outcome-focused, short-term intervention, to maximise a person’s independence and achieve an appropriate step reduction in their ongoing care needs.

Reablement responds to the wishes of those individuals who access homecare services to retain independence and control over their lives, including living at home, rather than long – term staffed support.

Selective model of reablement

For the process to achieve maximum results, requests for new care packages should be based on a selective model of reablement. This ensures that only service users who would benefit from reablement should be directed through this route. For example, those in receipt of palliative care and those on the Stroke Pathway, or with significant cognitive, impairment are not suitable to be rehabilitated within a six week period.

It is a culture change for the majority of homecare staff to start delivering reablement services, and in many areas, it will take a transitional period for the existing workforce to move to delivering a different type of service. The role has its own distinct requirements and not all homecare workers are suitable to deliver reablement services as they requires a different level of skill.

Staff struggle with the concept of transferring from Domiciliary Care principles to reablement requirements as they are too ‘hands on’ and struggle getting the balance right in terms of the intervention of the service. The way to achieve this is to develop a training plan for reablement to cover learning aims and objectives to ensure that nationally providers are working to the same standard.

Homecare providers are aware that the implicit aim of reablement is to reduce the number of care hours required to support a person at home, or to develop their independence so that they can remain in their own home instead of being admitted to hospital, respite, residential or nursing care.

A large task

The operational process to transform part or all of the homecare workforce to deliver fast, short – term, intense rehabilitation support will be a large task, however, once the correct model is in place, providers are keen to make the service a success.

Investment in reablement services can fulfil the imperative to reduce demand for long-term support, achieving savings to the public purse whilst improving people’s quality of life.

Reablement is significantly associated with better health-related quality of life and social care-related outcomes, but this will only be achieved by working together in partnership and acknowledging that in order to gain positive outcomes for service users remaining independent, then there must be significant investment made in training and to ensure a multi-skilled trained workforce.

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Rosie Robinson

Domiciliary Care Specialist

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