London Borough of Tower Hamlets

In Value of Occupational Therapy by COT Editor

Occupational therapists in reablement services help 63% people back to independence.

In the London Borough of Tower Hamlets 63% of people using an occupational therapy-led reablement service had their reablement cases closed without further support needs identified (Social Care Institute for Excellence: Prevention Library ca.2014).

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets provide a multidisciplinary, short-term Reablement service to all adults over 18 in the borough who may have lost confidence, skills or independence following an accident, ill health, a disability or a stay in hospital. The service aims to enable people to relearn life skills, to rebuild their confidence, to facilitate and consolidate their existing abilities and build on their own resources and to enable and promote a healthy lifestyle that is relevant to the individual. This can lead to a reduction or absence in long-term support needed, thereby reducing long-term costs.

The Occupational Therapy-lead and multiagency service currently receives 100 referrals a month, from a variety of sources, including a First Response team based at the local authority who people and their families can contact themselves. 40% of referrals come from hospitals (including community hospitals) with other community-based health teams also make referrals, including community learning disability teams and community mental health teams.

Each service user is allocated a key worker, and independence planner/superviser who will work with them to establish the things they want to achieve. It is a holistic assessment designed to put people in control of getting their independence back and preventing either social isolation or a return to hospital. There is a real emphasis on getting people back into their communities, with carers accompanying them to activities and services, with the view to helping them get back to doing it by themselves.

In Tower Hamlets, the workforce is 54% occupational therapists, 26% independence planner and 18% social workers. The strong occupational therapy-focus of the service ensures that Reablement team can support people with a really wide variety of tasks and goals, and occupational therapy staff are at the forefront of integration with staff from both health and social care backgrounds.