Reablement is an intensive short service, usually delivered in the home (or care home), which is offered to those recovering from an illness or injury. Whether it be after surgery or a bout of serious illness, modern medicine is often able to cure their afflictions.
However, for many people, the process of healing doesn’t end at discharge from the hospital. Aftercare of various lengths is typically required for many patients, with varying degrees of intensity.
This article will explain the process of reablement, and what things might take place during the course of aftercare treatment.
How long does Reablement take?
Also known as intermediate care, the length of time reablement takes depends on the intensity of risk you would have operating on your own. In the majority of cases, reablement ordinarily only lasts for one or two weeks.
On the NHS, free reablement care can be given for a maximum of six weeks, by which point the majority of people will be properly re-acclimatised to independent living.
For a number of cases, reablement work may be required for a longer period of time than this although the NHS does not currently provide this for free on its system.
When is Reablement arranged?
Ordinarily, the reablement service will be discussed with a patient before they are discharged from the hospital environment. A discharge co-ordinator is the person who handles the organisation of things like reablement, and they are considered the person questions need to be directed.
If for whatever reason, a hospital fails to organise the proper intermediate care then social services are the group who would then be contacted; they will then organise the appropriate care, as the hospital will no longer be involved.
Typically this kind of care follows a period of hospitalisation. However, there are cases when reablement is provided despite not being admitted to the hospital.
Serious short-term illnesses can receive an intermediate care in order to prevent the illness developing to the extent where trips to the hospital are required.
Likewise, if an elderly person or an adult at particular risk suffers a fall or needs some level of assistance because of an illness then their GP can be contacted. They will then be able to ascertain what kind of reablement can be appropriate.
At this point, Social care services are of course also an appropriate port-of-call.
A final instance in which someone may be able to gain intermediate care is if they have started to find everyday tasks difficult, normally due to old age, minor injury, or degenerative illness.
Social services can be contacted to arrange an assessment, with the aim being the assessment of the individual to see if they can be re-educated in new ways of doing tasks to avoid the need to hire a care team.
What does Reablement entail?
Ordinarily, reablement will require a team of professionals to provide a specialised and personalised amount of care to help keep a patient independent. This team may feature physiotherapists, social workers, doctors, nursing teams, or carers.
Depending on the level of difficulty someone receiving intermediate care is having, this may range from full-blown care until the patient is able to look after themselves to some level, to receiving help climbing stairs or doing things like housework.
Examples may include;
- help washing
- help bathing
- help shaving
- preparing meals
- medication management
- help to dress
These needs will differ dramatically between patients based on individual circumstances. They may require multiple visits per day or could be infrequent visits such as once or twice per week.
In order to determine the amount of care needed, there will be an assessment designed to figure out what it is a patient can comfortably do without requiring help. This will be part of the patients care plan.
The specifics of the makeup of the reablement team and what their responsibilities are is decided after this assessment in conjunction with input from the patient.
After the agreed period of aftercare has passed, the reablement team will coordinate with the patient, their family, or their carers to agree on how to address going forward.
This will include discussing what kind of equipment might be needed to help the patient live out their life (such as fitting bath rails), and how the patient can be referred again if they need more help.
It will also advise on what should be done if things go wrong (such as equipment malfunctions), and establishing what kinds of care might still be required.
TutorCare offers an e-learning reablement awareness course for those who are responsible for the care of vulnerable adults. It is suitable for family members of patients as well as those working in the professional care sector.
The NHS website provides lots of information on the process of reablement, and their site has links to other sources of information about specific things like arranging reablement before hospital discharge: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/care-after-a-hospital-stay/care-after-illness-or-hospital-discharge-reablement/
The Government website can be used to contact social services to arrange care outside of the hospital setting: https://www.gov.uk/apply-needs-assessment-social-services