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Reabling Wales - Residential care of older people

On Thursday 26 April, I will be giving evidence to the Welsh Assembly’s Health & Social Care Committee as part of its inquiry into the residential care of older people in Wales. I am doing so in my role as Chair of the Welsh Reablement Alliance, an umbrella group of bodies who provide support to people when they come out of lengthy hospital stays and help them to adapt back to life at home.

Reablement is a hugely important step-change for social care – it changes the presumption of what sort of help people need, seeking to help them re-learn daily skills so they can stay in their own homes and remain independent rather than needing to look at formalised home care or residential care. This not only affords more dignity to older people, it also make significant savings for the public purse by preventing hospital readmissions and costly long-term care packages.

Typical examples of reablement might be short-term physiotherapy interventions, or physical adaptations to the home, or it might mean short-term social support to help a person (such as a lift to the shops, or a volunteer helping to walk the dog whilst they regain physical strength) – in practice though, it is a whole range of these services. Long-term hospital stays can knock a person’s self-confidence, diminish them physically, and put all sorts of practical barriers in place which make it hard to adapt to life back at home. Reablement is simply about overcoming those barriers through short-term interventions.

Currently, there are some excellent examples of reablement in Wales – but they are all too often quite patchy and inconsistent, with huge variations between regions and huge discrepancies in the levels of funding they attract. That is partly an accident of how the service has evolved over time, but now that the Welsh Government is making bold plans to extend reablement as part of its Social Services Bill, the time has come for a more consistent level playing field for reablement, and for the Welsh Government to set out what it expects local authorities to provide.

The evidence session will be broadcast on senedd.tv at 1pm on Thursday – be sure to tune in!

Posted by Ed Bridges, Public Affairs Manager (Wales) at 00:00 Thursday, 26 April 2012.

Labels: reablement, Welsh Reablement Alliance, social care, older people, volunteering, dignity, hospital, self-confidence, Social Services Bill, senedd