As the overwhelming majority of older people prefer to remain in their own homes and communities, innovative service provision aims to promote independence of older people despite incremental age associated frailty. Reablement is one such service intervention that is rapidly being adopted across high-income countries and projected to result in significant cost-savings in public health expenditure by decreasing premature admission to acute care settings and long-term institutionalisation. It is an intensive, time-limited intervention provided in people's homes or in community settings, often multi-disciplinary in nature, focussing on supporting people to regain skills around daily activities. It is goal-orientated, holistic and person-centred irrespective of diagnosis, age and individual capacities. Reablement is an inclusive approach that seeks to work with all kinds of frail people but requires skilled professionals who are willing to adapt their practise, as well as receptive older people, families and care staff. Although reablement may just seem the right thing to do, studies on the outcomes of this knowledge-based practice are inconsistent-yet there is an emerging evidence and practice base that suggests that reablement improves performance in daily activities. This innovative service however may lead to hidden side effects such as social isolation and a paradoxical increase in hospital admissions. Some of the necessary evaluative research is already underway, the results of which will help fill some of the evidence gaps outlined here.
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- restorative care, older people, independence, goal-oriented, home-based rehabilitation