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Reablement is a short and intensive service (up to six weeks) usually delivered in the home, to help people get back on their feet. Offered to people with disabilities, the elderly or those recovering from an illness or injury the service is usually free.

Providing personal care, help with daily living activities and other practical tasks, reablement encourages service users to develop the confidence and skills to carry out these activities themselves and continue to live at home.

How does reablement help the patient?

The main focus of reablement is on restoring independent functioning rather than resolving health care issues. The objective is to help people relearn how to do things for themselves rather than the need for them to leave the home and spend time in a care home.

How does the reablement treatment work?

If a person is referred to a reablement service, reablement workers will visit them in their home, assess their abilities and needs and then agree on measurable goals. Over the next few days or weeks, the individual will be supported to regain physical function, relearn skills and, if necessary, learn different ways of doing daily tasks such as meal preparation, washing and dressing.

Who are reablement workers?

The team consists of a mix of care workers from the NHS and social services that will help the patient regain independence.

The team might include:

  • a nurse
  • an occupational therapist
  • a physiotherapist
  • a social worker
  • doctors
  • carers

They'll start with an assessment that looks at what the patient can do. Targets will be set in a plan that is agreed upon between the team, the patient and, where relevant, the patient's family.

The plan will include a contact person, who's in the team, and the times and dates they will visit.

Tasks that are supported

When care workers visit the home they will discuss the needs of the individuals and create an individual care plan. This typically includes a breakdown of individual tasks that the team will help the patient with during reablement.

Examples may include helping the patient when dressing and getting into and out of bed; washing; bathing; shaving; managing trips to the bathroom; preparing meals; eating and drinking; and dispensing medication.

The amount of help needed varies with each person and their individual circumstances. They may need only a few visits each week or several visits a day. Over a period of several weeks, as set out in the initial care plan, the amount of help received will reduce quickly as the patient's confidence and ability improve.

After reablement

At the end of a period of reablement, most patients can live independently at home. If the support hasn't helped the client fully regain their independence, the situation will be reviewed and discussions regarding longer-term care and support will typically be offered.

Flexebee offers a variety of care-related training. Our Moving and Handling of People Awareness, Person Care Centred Awareness, Care Planning and Personal Care courses incorporate and explain methods discussed in this article.