Lady with zimmer frame in garden with reablement worker

Meet Rich, a reablement worker from Exeter. Read more about his story below and what it is like to work in reablement.

Supporting people to work towards independence

Reablement is providing care for people with a specific emphasis on getting people back to, or adapting to a state of independence, after a hospital or care home discharge. The role involves getting people to work towards being independent and encouraging them to do things for themselves, at their own pace.

Rich’s team works across Exeter, East Devon and as far as Tiverton. They support a range of people who have been discharged from hospital after a fall, accident or illness.

The role is often spilt shifts, supporting people in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening. Morning visits involve supporting people with getting up, getting washed and dressed, assisting with medication and making sure they have breakfast and plenty to drink. Lunchtime is to support with meal preparation, and the evening visit is covering tea time and then getting ready for bed.

We provide the support to adapt to a new way of being

Initially the role involves providing a lot of support and assistance. Often the individual is grieving for lost abilities, so providing support to help people adapt to a new way of being is a big part of the job. The role then often progresses to stepping back, providing reassurance, and prompting until the person feels confident to do things independently.

The role has a huge impact on the people themselves; the relief they feel knowing they are going home and having support in place to live independently. In the role you get to share tips, provide technology, equipment and teach new ways of doing things. For example supporting someone who had broken an arm and showing ways to use one arm independently. Often, we learn from the people we are supporting.

Everyone you meet is different

Every person you meet as a reablement work is so different; you adapt and find lots of different ways to help all those different people. Empathy and the ability to listen and observe are key qualities that are essential. You have to be understanding and have an appreciation of the diversity in the range of people that you meet. For example, for older people who had been very active, independent, social and even adventurous suddenly find that all stops. They’ve then got a period of recovery and finding how to be in this new state. You have to be empathic, understanding and encouraging.

Rich has been in reablement for five years and loving it. Rich has previously worked in a number of different roles; the creative industries, supporting a friend as a Personal Assistant,  working for Devon County Council care brokerage team, and working as a landscape gardener before finding a role with social care reablement. Rich has taken on different roles within the reablement service such as clerk, team leader and support worker.

The best part of the role for Rich is the problem solving. “They have a particular need or want and together we find a way for them to do it. We might try out a few different things and eventually hit upon the right solution! We’ve got to leave the past behind and remember fondly but if the future means being or doing something different, it can still be an adventure. It’s such an honour, a great job to have the opportunity to be a part of people’s lives for a short time and see them through difficult moments”.

If, like Rich, you’d like the adventure, problem solving, and reward of becoming a Reablement Support Worker, you can find more information on our careers pages.