Reablement services for people at risk of needing social care: the MoRe mixed-methods evaluation
Health Services and Delivery Research
Reablement is an intensive, time-limited intervention for people at risk of needing social care or an increased intensity of care. Differing from home care, it seeks to restore functioning and self-care skills. In England, it is a core element of intermediate care. The existing evidence base is limited. Objectives To describe reablement services in England and develop a service model typology; to conduct a mixed-methods comparative evaluation of service models investigating outcomes, factors
... utcomes, factors that have an impact on outcomes, costs and cost-effectiveness, and user and practitioner experiences; and to investigate specialist reablement services/practices for people with dementia. Methods Work package (WP) 1, which took place in 2015, surveyed reablement services in England. Data were collected on organisational characteristics, service delivery and practice, and service costs and caseload. WP2 was an observational study of three reablement services, each representing a different service model. Data were collected on health (EuroQol-5 Dimensions, five-level version) and social care related (Adult Social Care Outcomes Toolkit – self-completed) quality of life, practitioner (Barthel Index of Activities of Daily Living) and self-reported (Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living scale) functioning, individual and service characteristics, and resource use. They were collected on entry into reablement (n = 186), at discharge (n = 128) and, for those reaching the point on the study timeline, at 6 months post discharge (n = 64). Interviews with staff and service users explored experiences of delivering or receiving reablement and its perceived impacts. In WP3, staff in eight reablement services were interviewed to investigate their experiences of reabling people with dementia. Results A total of 201 services in 139 local authorities took part in the survey. Services varied in their organisational base, their relationship with other intermediate care services, their use of outsourced providers, their skill mix and the scope of their reablement input. These characteristics influenced aspects of service delivery and practice. The average cost per case was £1728. Lower than expected sample sizes meant that a comparison of service models in WP2 was not possible. The findings are preliminary. At discharge (T1), significant improvements in mean score on outcome measures, except self-reported functioning, were observed. Further improvements were observed at 6 months post discharge (T2), but these were significant for self-reported functioning only. There was some evidence that individual (e.g. engagement, mental health) and service (e.g. service structure) characteristics were associated with outcomes and resource use at T1. Staff's views on factors affecting outcomes typically aligned with, or offered possible explanations for, these associations. However, it was not possible to establish the significance of these findings in terms of practice or commissioning decisions. Service users expressed satisfaction with reablement and identified two core impacts: regained independence and, during reablement, companionship. Staff participating in WP3 believed that people with dementia can benefit from reablement, but objectives may differ and expectations for regained independence may be inappropriate. Furthermore, staff believed that flexibility in practice (e.g. duration of home visits) should be incorporated into delivery models and adequate provision made for specialist training of staff. Conclusions The study contributes to our understanding of reablement, and what the impacts are on outcomes and costs. Staff believe that reablement can be appropriate for people with dementia. Findings will be of interest to commissioners and service managers. Future research should further investigate the factors that have an impact on outcomes, and reabling people with dementia. Funding The National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research programme.