Home from hospital: Returning to independence


One of the great challenges for many people following discharge from hospital is returning to the level of independence that they once enjoyed. This is often a slow and challenging process, although it obviously depends on the seriousness of the injury or illness that the person is recovering from.


Many of us set very high expectations for ourselves, which can be both helpful and counterproductive. Having high expectations can be very motivating, driving individuals forward towards their goals. However, if progress seems slow or is perceived to have stopped it can be very frustrating, with that frustration in turn often hampering the very recovery process that is being strived for.



One of the most important aspects of home care provision for people looking to return to independence after treatment in hospital is known as ‘reablement’. The principle of reablement is to help someone ‘do for themselves’ rather than simply ‘doing for them’, with the aim being to regain day-to-day living skills. Reablement sometimes works alongside the more well-known practice of rehabilitation, which is usually formulated around a personalised exercise programme that helps an individual to build up their physical strengths.


At its heart, reablement encourages people to return to independence more quickly, with support that follows a programme of goals which are established before the support starts and are set against time frames. So for example: By week two, Mrs Smith should be washing and dressing independently.


The role of home care workers is to follow up the aims of the programme, monitoring an individual’s progress and making adjustments where necessary. Consistent home care support that enables individuals going through reablement to form positive relationships with care workers can also help immensely with motivation and encouragement, reducing feelings of frustration or failure.


Reablement in this format is a term, and a service, many people are yet to appreciate the full value of. Not only have reablement programmes proven to be hugely successful in returning people to full independence, they also lie at the heart of reducing dependency on the NHS and social care services.


Healthvision are proud to be a preferred provider for Westminster City Council’s Reablement Service. This service specialises in rehabilitating people following accident or injury, often following hospital discharge. More information is available from People First.