What is Reablement care?

Reablement services are aimed at restoring and enhancing individuals' skills and confidence so they can manage their lives again after a period of illness or injury. Regardless of the diagnosis, the primary objective of reablement is to enable people to perform routine activities such as meal preparation, washing, dressing, housework, socialising and going out.

This service is typically provided in the person's own home by a team of social care professionals. The consistency of the care workers is critical to building a relationship with the individual and tracking their progress. Reablement is usually provided for up to 6 weeks, although it's not uncommon for someone to need only a few weeks of reablement or a bit longer than six weeks to achieve their desired goals.

Supporting and Promoting Independence

Reablement recognises that excessive support can lead to dependency on others. Hence, the care providers are trained to facilitate independence by stepping back, observing, encouraging, and prompting individuals to acquire new skills or relearn skills they may have lost.

This approach can be challenging initially for both the care receiver and the support worker observing them. If the support worker intervenes based on their own emotions or to save time, it can impede progress for the individual. In the long run, positive reinforcement and encouragement are more effective in promoting self-sufficiency.


Features of Reablement care

  • Focus on promoting and maximising independence and wellbeing by leveraging an individual's strengths.
  • Helps regain confidence after illness, injury, hospitalisation, or frailty
  • Promote self-care skills that may have been lost and to let individuals take the lead rather than doing things for them.
  • Short-term and intensive approach that is usually provided for up to 6 weeks.
  • Involves setting and working towards meaningful goals that help individuals regain control over their lives.
  • The service is not means-tested and is free to people who meet locally defined eligibility criteria.
  • The approach focuses on restoring independent functioning, rather than resolving healthcare issues
  • Typically provided in an individual's own home, but may also be provided in an intermediate care facility

Who can benefit from Reablement Care?

When considering home care options for individuals, reablement should be considered first, particularly if it has the potential to enhance their independence and overall wellbeing. It should also be integrated as a component of the review or re-evaluation process for those already receiving home care services.

Reablement Care Benefits

The decision to go ahead with reablement care should be based on the individual's needs rather than their medical condition


  • Restore independent functioning, rather than doing things for care receivers
  • Prevent readmission to hospital or premature move to a care home
  • Promote of self-care skills
  • Free to people who meet the locally defined eligibility criteria
  • Reconnect people with their communities to reduce social isolation
  • Reduce the amount of care the person needs from carers and family


Can Reablement Care Replace Traditional home care?

In situations where reablement is not a suitable option, traditional home care services still have a role to play. However, these services should follow the same guiding principles as reablement, enabling individuals to do as much as they can for themselves and not doing it for them simply because it's easier or quicker. Doing things for individuals when they are capable enough of doing them themselves can undermine their independence and wellbeing, ultimately resulting in greater dependence on others, both physically and emotionally.

Accessing Reablement Care

Local authorities and adult social care services can assist, advise and provide more information on reablement for you or your loved ones.

 You should consider talking to 

  • General Practitioner (GP)
  • A community or social care worker
  • Staff at the emergency department
  • Hospital’s discharge team

Organisations such as Age UK may be able to offer advice and support in your local area.

Who are referred for reablement services?

Reablement services are either provided by the local authorities or sometimes in partnership with Integrated care systems. Since this varies across regions, referral criteria also vary. In some places, only those who are about to be discharged from hospital are referred to reablement services. In other areas individuals can be referred by community health or adult social care services, or the GP.

Here are some situations when reablement care is typically considered

  • To support timely discharge from hospital
  • Look for a simple and safe alternative to hospital admissions
  • Finding it difficult to live alone
  • Facing permanent move to residential care due to illness, injury or frailty


It is best to talk to the person in charge of your care – your GP, social care worker, or ward coordinator at the hospital.

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