Reablement: A review of the challenges within health and social care in the UK and Scandinavia
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In the UK and Scandinavian countries, reablement services were introduced as a new initiative to reduce the pressure on health and social care services. Due to the increase in demographic along with complex health needs amongst older population, there was a need to focus on preventative services to enable older people to remain in a homely environment for longer. Following functional decline or illness, reablement provides a time-limited service which focuses on individual goals in partnership of an interdisciplinary team to regain independence at home. The literature highlights the importance of collaboration between the service and the service user, as well as, staff and relevant professional bodies. Although OTs have an important role within reablement, OTs are not always involved within the development and service provision. Policies and guidelines emphasise strategies required to ensure quality and consistency amongst services, however, the various literature reports that these expectations are often impractical. The literature also demonstrates the challenge of defining reablement and highlights an inconsistent knowledge and understanding on the ethos of such service. Reablement has demonstrated its worth and effectiveness in terms of reducing care for older people and people’s ability to remain at home, however, research remains limited. Also, reablement requires a standardised assessment tool and outcome measure to determine its effectiveness to ensure quality and consistency, while remaining person-centred. To maintain and provide a client-focused service, service developers and workers need to be aware of personal experiences of those in receipt of such services. More research is required to explore service users experience and experiences of those who provide such service. Health and social care have invested a significant amount of government funding on community services, such as reablement. The evidence on its cost-effectiveness is limited. A number of recommendations will be suggested to improve service provision, education and policy for the further implementation of reablement for older people.