Reablement programs for staying well longer

Claire O’Connor

Claire O’Connor at the conference to launch the guides

A set of reablement programs to help people living with dementia to maintain their abilities and perform everyday activities for as long as possible was launched at the International Dementia Conference in Sydney.

Supporting independence and function in people living with dementia: A handbook of reablement programs for service providers, is an evidence-informed resource containing practical reablement programs to support function in people living with dementia.

Reablement is a term that refers to maintaining a person’s functional ability. The handbook contains eight reablement programs around the key areas of everyday living activities, mobility and physical function, and cognition and communication.

Directed at aged care providers, allied health and nursing professionals, managers and care workers, the handbook is supported by two additional resources, a consumer information booklet, and a technical guide. The technical guide contains a detailed synthesis of the published research evidence on reablement interventions for people living with dementia, and is a resource particularly aimed at health professions delivering programs and researchers.

The project, funded through the CDPC and led by HammondCare, was in partnership the University of New South Wales, Brightwater Care Group, Helping Hand Aged Care, Dementia Australia and the Australian Government Department of Health.

Theresa Flavin, diagnosed with Younger Onset Dementia seven years ago, helped develop the consumer information booklet and welcomes the benefit it brings of being able to stay well for longer.

“Reablement for me, showed me that while the disease was affecting my brain, there was still plenty of unaffected brain tissue that I could use.

Professor Chris Poulos, who led the team producing these new resources, said: “We have developed the handbook and the accompanying resources for two key reasons. The first is to empower people living with dementia, along with their families and support persons, by providing them with the tools to make informed decisions about programs that could be of benefit.

“The second is to outline for practitioners and service providers how these evidence-informed programs can be delivered, practically and sustainably,” he said.

Claire O’Connor, who worked on the research team and attended the launch while on maternity leave, said there is important evidence on the positive benefits of reablement programs.

“The research also identified important enablers for providing reablement interventions for people with dementia,” she said.

The resources are on the Hammondcare website,