The business case for reablement

The film begins with a brief introduction to reablement, which we see in operation with Jill Hunter, recently discharged from hospital following surgery. Jill lives in the Central Bedfordshire local authority. As well as seeing how reablement has improved Jill’s independence to the point she will soon require no support, we hear from the Operational Manager of Reablement Services about the significant cost savings that reablement has delivered. This is verified with data from research and practice across the UK, presented by experts Gerald Pilkington and Professor Caroline Glendinning. We also see how investment in a ‘step-down’ reablement unit has facilitated far more hospital discharges, making cost savings in the health sector.

Key messages for practice

  1. Commissioners of health and social care are increasingly investing in reablement services as a means of increasing people’s independence and reducing their need for ongoing support.
  2. Reablement differs from traditional home care in that it provides intensive support for up to 6 weeks and its objective is to help people learn (or re-learn) daily living skills they may have lost through illness or disability. To achieve this, reablement workers stand back and may prompt people instead of doing things for them.
  3. Due to the more intensive nature of reablement support, it does require higher upfront investment than traditional home care. However, research and practice evidence demonstrate that a period of reablement will significantly reduce the size of someone’s care package, achieving savings that can be invested in other care services.
  4. The best evidence shows that following a period of reablement, up to 60 per cent of people will require no further care and support. In contrast, where people use traditional home care for the same period, only 5 per cent will need no further support. These results have been replicated across a wide range of councils.
  5. There are considerable financial benefits for the health sector. Commissioning reablement has been found to improve the rate of hospital discharge and reduce admissions to hospital in the first place. Many reablement services have been set up to focus specifically on patients waiting to leave hospital. In these cases, the reablement service is often jointly funded by health and local government and it will be important for this joint co-operation to continue and increase in the future.

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