Most older people want to take care of themselves as much as they can for as long as possible. But for those recovering from an illness or stay in hospital, conventional home care often focuses on doing everything for them, which can result in a loss of confidence and independence.
Edinburgh City Council used to take this traditional approach to home care. But last month the council launched a ‘reablement’ service, which helps them do as much as possible for themselves.
An intensive service will be provided for older people recovering from illness who need to get back on their feet and re-learn life skills. Over a six-week period, care staff will work with them at their own pace to build up their confidence.
The service is available to people who have been assessed as needing help with essential tasks such as washing, dressing and preparing food. Home care staff have been provided with additional training to work in the reablement service, which will be piloted in the south-east of the city before being rolled out city-wide.
The aim is to maximise people’s long-term independence, choice and quality of life while responding to the growth in demand for home care services.
Paul Edie (Lib Dem), convener for health, social care and housing, says the new model will be more flexible and less expensive than the previous 9am-1pm service, because more care will be provided from the private and voluntary sectors.
It will also require less staff because the intensive service means people will require care for shorter periods. However, he stresses this shift in the balance of home care will not result in compulsory redundancies, but will be managed through natural wastage.
The measures will result in an estimated£6m in savings per annum, which will be reinvested in more care for older people.
“We hope the result will be a modern home care service for people at the times they need it. Rather than managing frailty we will be giving them the independence they need,” he says.