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Book explores how to enable older people to live independently for longer

A new book, exploring the increasingly important area of reablement services in community care, has been written by health and social care professionals at the University of Chester.

Led by Valerie Ebrahimi, Programme Leader for the MEd in Professional Education, with Dr Hazel Chapman, Senior Lecturer, the book entitled Reablement Services in Health and Social Care, is a guide for both students and support workers.

Valerie’s role as a senior lecturer also extends to teaching on a BA in Health and Social Care and her expertise lies in the field of ageing. Hazel’s background is in adult and learning disabilities nursing as well as psychology. Her doctoral thesis was on the experience of people with learning disabilities in healthcare. Both lecturers are based in the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care.

Reablement is a service which involves facilitating people with a long term condition, disability or impairment, to carry out their own personal care and other daily living activities. This takes place over the course of six weeks, to enable people to develop the confidence and skills to carry out their chosen activities independently. For many, it also means that they can continue to stay in their own home. Paid care is one of the greatest financial burdens across the health and social care sector. Reablement services can therefore help to reduce this need.Book explores how to enable older people to live independently for longer

The book introduces the theoretical underpinnings and practical considerations of reablement. It advocates placing service users at the centre of the service; promoting autonomy, as well as exploring how advances in technology can help, but also hinder participation.

The chapters include contributions from a number of professions, namely occupational therapy, social work, nursing and physiotherapy, and encourage disciplines to work together effectively, whilst promoting the value of co-production. To this extent, the book offers perspectives from service users, carers and support workers, to give a rounded introduction to effective reablement practices.

With a background in occupational therapy, Vala wrote the proposal for the book after recognising that this was an area of service growth across the UK.

Vala said: “Reablement is an emerging trend across the country, but there is not enough robust evidence to support it. This was surprising given the investment.

“Reablement can bring about cost benefits when people are able to look after themselves at home rather than paying for care. For those reliant on state funding, it can help to reduce costs in the interim, even if the individual needs paid care at a later date.

“It is an area of service growth that will be of interest to GPs (commissioning) and nurses through to social workers, care workers and occupational therapists.”

Vala is now working with an Australian researcher and the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) on further projects relating to reablement. A workshop critical discourse proposal in January 2019: “Re-thinking reablement services: are we supporting people as social participants?” has just been accepted by the RCOT. Furthermore, Vala is presenting at the Ageing and Social Change: Ninth Interdisciplinary Conference in Vienna early in September 2019.

The book is published by Macmillan International Higher Education. For more details visit
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