NHS and social care reablement services are there to help you to regain confidence after an injury, illness, or acquired disability. Often referred to as intermediate care or aftercare, these services are designed to assist you in restoring the skills you need to carry out normal daily living activities independently. Reablement is designed to create positive change based upon your individual goals – and helping through positive health and wellbeing. It is suitable for many people, for example, age-related mobility needs, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or cognitive illnesses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The Benefits of Reablement
Reablement helps you to learn or re-learn self-care abilities that you use in everyday life. This can include simple tasks like bathing and dressing, cleaning the house, preparing meals, moving safely around your home etc. The aim is for these daily tasks to be carried out independently without the need for formal care or support. There are many short and long-term benefits associated with reablement for you and your family:
- Support timely discharge from hospital
- Promote faster recovery from illness
- Reduce or eliminate the need for future care services
- Help to avoid long-term care
- Reduce reliance on family and friends
- Lead to overall improved wellbeing and quality of life
Reablement vs Homecare
An alternative to traditional homecare, reablement can be implemented after you return home from hospital, or other care settings, or if you have found your general health and mobility has deteriorated. In comparison to traditional homecare, reablement focuses on enabling independence, whereas homecare tends to focus more on the things you cannot do. This can lead to long term dependence on care and support. Studies show that reablement services can result in reducing or preventing the requirement for traditional, often long-term, home care packages.
Home Adaptations and Equipment
Reablement is split into two categories – restorative, which includes the learning or re-learning of behaviours and skills, which is designed to help improve your motivation and confidence, and secondly, compensatory – which includes adapting your home to ensure safety and mobility. Adapted equipment can include grab rails, stair rails, steps, ramps, bathroom adaptations, stairlifts and home lifts. It can also include the use of assistive technology such as sensors, activity monitoring, and personal alarms.
Benefits of a Home Lift
A home lift can play an important part in your reablement. Being dependent on carers or family members can be incredibly difficult if you are adjusting to a new condition or disability. We understand that you may already be dealing with several other, often substantial changes, such as using a wheelchair or a mobility aid. Having control over moving around the home freely and safely has significant benefits for your confidence, self-esteem, mental health and general wellbeing. The installation of a home lift means you won’t need to ask friends, family or carers to assist you to move between floors. This can be hugely important to maintain your personal relationships and self-confidence.
Installation of a Stiltz Home Lift
The work required to install a home lift is minimal and can be completed in just a few days. Due to its size, drive mechanism and unique dual rail supports, a Stiltz Home Lift can be installed almost anywhere in the home. Another benefit is that the lift plugs straight into a standard 13amp wall socket and there is no additional equipment needed to run the lift.
Accessing Reablement Services
Access to a reablement team is usually gained through a referral from your healthcare professional or GP. A reablement team usually includes Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, and reablement workers. The role of the team is to ensure barriers that prevent primary in-home activities that matter, are overcome.
Reablement Assessment and Process
The reablement process begins with an assessment by a healthcare professional. The assessment will consider your mobility, skills, physical strength, and the ability to perform basic tasks such as bathing or moving safely around your home. They may recommend certain adjustments be made to your home or assistive aids be introduced. The reablement period can be relatively short (usually around six weeks), so planning for what happens after reablement ends should begin at the start of the process. The reablement team will discuss your ongoing care and treatment with you.
Who is eligible for reablement services depends on your Local Authority. Resources tend to be focused on people who would benefit physically from reablement. People who may need end of life care for example are less likely to receive support of this type. Reablement services are not means-tested, which means if you meet the criteria, reablement can be actioned regardless of your income or capital.
The Role of Reablement Within the NHS
Reablement is an increasingly important part of the NHS. As health and social care costs increase and the UK population ages, the overall aim is to enable people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Over the last ten years, the Government has made a substantial investment in reablement services through the NHS which has proven to promote positive health and wellbeing, reducing hospital admissions, re-admissions, and delayed discharge. A recent report by Agile Ageing Alliance states that the right home adaptations can delay a move to residential care by four years, reducing pressure on the care system. Simple home modifications can also help reduce the falls that need medical treatment by 26%. This is estimated to lead to annual savings of £500m to the NHS and social care services.
The importance of Adapted Homes
Lord Richard Best, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Housing and Care for Older People, also outlined the importance of adapted homes: “The work of the NHS is increasingly about caring for people with long-term conditions in their own homes. Frequently, it is not possible to discharge patients from hospital because their home is not suited to their recovery. And if it is too difficult for local authorities to provide social care in the home, the huge expense of residential care which could have been prevented or at least postponed becomes a crippling burden for the Council, or for the individual and their family”.
Stuart Barrow, our Resident Occupational Therapist
“The focus of reablement is on restoring independent functioning rather than resolving health care issues. Our objective is to help people to do things for themselves rather than taking a conventional home care approach, which is more about doing things for people. Reablement is welcomed by individuals and their families as we focus on developing (or re-developing) the skills required to live as independently as possible, especially after an illness, deterioration in health or injury. This can reduce the need for traditional homecare, and the pressure on friends and family to provide care and support”.