Reablement – What is reablement?


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 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 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 within a plan that is agreed between the team, the patient and where relevant the patients 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
  • 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 patients confidence and ability improves.

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.

Online care courses offer an online reablement training course. The course programme which is self paced and can be completed and revisited over a 12 month period covers the following modules;

  • Understand the importance of reablement support.
  • Benefits of the service.
  • Knowledge of the roles within the team.
  • How to record, monitor and assess progress through the care plan.
  • Types of help and support available.
  • Why the service is successful and what happens next.

Further information regarding patient after care can be found here – NHS care after illness or hospital discharge

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