Reablement: maintaining independence

This film focuses on ‘falls prevention’ programmes. This type of preventive support can be described as ‘early intervention’. Early intervention aims to identify people at risk and halt or slow down any deterioration and actively seek to improve their situation. Interventions include screening and case finding to identify individuals at risk of specific health conditions or events (such as stroke or falls) or those who have existing low level social care needs.

The film introduces us to a number of people who describe how they are benefitting from the falls prevention service and the exercise classes. People who were initially experiencing reduced mobility or had previously fallen reflect on how their physical ability has improved and their confidence has grown. As well as the exercises classes, physiotherapists work with the individuals to improve the home environment so that they can achieve mutually agreed outcomes, such as washing themselves, moving around the house safely and reduced anxiety. For some, this means a reduction in the need for ongoing care.

In addition to the benefits described by the individuals in this film, we hear from the rehabilitation and falls specialist at the Cambridgeshire Falls Prevention Scheme about some of the ‘service outcomes’. By maintaining people’s independence, the service aims to reduce packages of care, most notably by preventing the need for expensive residential care. Professor Julien Forder also explains that this kind of early intervention service is likely to reduce hospital admissions, meaning a positive outcome for individuals and the public purse.

Key messages for practice

  1. Even if they have never fallen, the fear of doing so can cause immense anxiety among older people and people who are losing their physical strength or mobility.
  2. Falls prevention schemes like the one shown here appear to significantly boost a person’s confidence and maintain their independence.
  3. A seamless relationship between health and social care is better for service users so co-operation between the two sectors is important. One means of achieving this is through pooled budgets.
  4. The falls prevention schemes featured in this film report an overriding aim of improving people’s ability to live at home thereby avoiding expensive residential care packages.
  5. A further likely benefit of early intervention is to prevent hospital admissions, which will improve people’s quality of life and reduce health costs.

Who will find this useful?