New service to help people become more independent proves a success

LATEST figures show that around 60 per cent of patients in Cambridgeshire who took part in an innovative rehabilitation programme regained their independence and did not need further treatment.

Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, Cambridgeshire County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire joined forces to introduce a re-ablement service in September 2010. The aim is to support people with poor physical or mental health learn or re-learn the skills necessary for daily living, rather than have someone carry out tasks for them.

The recent statistics show that between September 2010 and June 2011, 1090 people benefited from the service, which helped to improve their quality of life, avoided unnecessary hospital admission and reduced the need for other health and social care services due to the quality of care provided.

Marion Clarke, county manager for Unplanned Care, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “Re-ablement is designed to help people become as independent as possible, following an illness, an operation or if they have a long term condition.

“This can include support with personal care or to prepare a meal – the re-ablement service will work with people so that they learn or re-learn important tasks for themselves. In traditional social care, someone would visit and carry out these tasks for them. Many people who participate in the programme find that afterwards they can cope very well on their own, without the need for further support.”

Nicky Rice, care co-ordinator, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, added: “A member of our re-ablement team will visit people at home to discuss what they would like to achieve and how we can make it easier for them to do the things that they want.

“Together we will agree the goals to work towards and identify how the service will support people to achieve them. At first, several visits may be needed every day, but as progress improves, the number of visits may reduce.”

Lillian Littlejohn (90), from Bottisham, was supported by the team after she broke her hip. She said: “The team really helped me to recover after my hip operation and they were so kind. I wasn’t very mobile and couldn’t bend so they helped with every day activities and exercises, but over time I could gradually do more for myself.”

The multi-disciplinary re-ablement team includes therapy professionals, such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists, support workers/carers, care co-ordinators/case managers, assistive technology specialists, and mental health professionals.

GPs can refer patients for re-ablement, or patients can contact Cambridgeshire Direct on 0345-0455202 to find out more. The re-ablement programme will normally last up to six weeks and will be free of charge as long as people are participating in the programme and making progress.