Introducing reablement into a community health occupational therapy service: A living skills approach

Ms. Ciara Lynch 1, Ms. Mina Stevenson 1, Ms. Leanna Helquist 1

cohealth, Kensington, Australia



Introducing Reablement into a Community Health Occupational Therapy Service: A Living Skills Approach


Living skills in Occupational Therapy encompasses the planning, problem solving, and activity analysis of tasks such as cooking, using public transport, managing money and medication, laundry, and engaging in recreational activities.  It was identified that current staff possessed skills in reablement which were not being utilised in their current scope of practice.   A trial of a Living Skills program was agreed.  This was also in keeping with the Home and Community Care active service model, which focuses on people’s strengths, not their deficits, and assumes everyone has some capacity to improve their own health and wellbeing.


A working group was set up with Occupational Therapists who currently had skills in reablement, or wished to develop their skills and scope of practice.  Training was completed with staff that were part of the working group.   The living skills program was advertised internally to allied health and medical teams and externally to Councils.


The living skills program has been introduced to a community health setting.  This has created an opportunity for clients to access services that they previously weren’t able to receive.  Ongoing evaluation needs to be completed to evaluate the impact on clients overall quality of life and health status.


The Living Skills Program has increased the number of referrals to Occupational Therapy.  It encourages the use of Occupational Therapy core skills and provides opportunities for clients to become more independent and improve social participation.