Tess says health team were great after knee operation

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Londonderry woman Tess Coyle says a crack team of occupational therapists and support workers were invaluable in helping her maintain her independence after a recent knee replacement operation.

Tess was a beneficiary of the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) Reablement Service, which provides a focused, short term assessment and support service, usually lasting six weeks or less to help people do things for themselves rather than having to rely on others.

“The Reablement Team from the Western HSC Trust were excellent,” said Tess.

“I live alone and wanted to stay in my own home after I had a knee replacement. They taught me how to get back on my feet and to undertake simple things again like my personal care and cooking breakfast. They brought me really useful equipment to help me do things for myself and thanks to the support of the Team, I got my independence back,” she added.

Kevin Keenan, Assistant Director of Older People and Adult Services with the Health and Social Care Board explained: “With our ageing and growing population it is important that we prepare our services for the future. This will mean making choices about how we want our health and social care services to be delivered, based on the best evidence and making best use of the resources available to us.”

“Longer life expectancy is something to celebrate and many older people enjoy good health. Health and Social Care services need to focus on keeping older people well through prevention of ill health and the promotion of health and well-being.

“However, with an ageing population the rates of ill health and disability increase dramatically placing significant pressures on our Health and Social Care System. Services like Reablement help to delay or prevent unnecessary dependency of statutory services and, by focussing on rehabilitation, aim to help the individual regain the highest possible level of independence,” he said.

In 2011/12 patients aged 65+ accounted for approximately 55 per cent of hospital bed days. Many arrive at hospital because there is no viable alternative in the community.

Mr Keenan continued: “The Reablement Service helps to reduce hospital attendances and readmissions and to facilitate quicker discharge.

“It also reduces the number of people who require a service by simply enabling them to lead independent lives by improving their ability to do daily living activities at home through re-learning skills over a short period of time.”

Daily skills such as washing and showering, getting dressed and in and out bed or meal preparation can be lost following onset of poor health or infirmity and sometimes also through gradual social isolation or the loss of a carer. Reablement helps individuals whose independence is at risk, to rebuild their confidence and to develop these daily living skills.

Mr Keenan concluded: “On behalf of the Board, I wish to commend the Teams across the Trusts for the tremendous effort they are making in offering a better quality of life for many individuals in order to support them retain their independence and enabling them to remain at home.”

For more information visit www.hscboard.hscni.net/reablement