An individualised reablement circuit program has been introduced at Bethanie’s Living Well Centres throughout Perth and regional WA.
The program involves customers being individually assessed by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. An exercise goal is then set, and an individualised program is developed.
It comes as the federal government signaled it was taking the benefits of reablement programs seriously with the announcement of a $29 million reablement trial involving five regional CHSP providers in locations in Tasmania, the Northern Territory, Queensland, NSW, and South Australia.
Bethanie Wellness and Reablement coordinator, Maryann Fabling, says she developed the program to “motivate people by setting meaningful goals”.
“It’s about working out what’s important to them, what they want to work on,” she told the Community Care Review.
“The exercises used in the Reablement Circuit Program are based on research and evidence-based practice.”
Each time the person visits the centre they work towards their goal with the help of an assistant, she said.
“Some clients might attend their centre once a week, while others come up to five times a week.”
Over several weeks or months participants in the program can see their improvement and be encouraged to gain more strength, she said.
“The program is designed to be flexible, with goals set and reviewed regularly,” Ms Fabling said.
Working towards better balance
The most common goal set by participants in the program is to improve their balance, Ms Fabling said.
“Many customers who come to the centre use some sort of walking aid and they want to both strengthen their legs and work on their balance generally,” she said.
“Many older people have a real fear of falling.”
Olga Milhailescu is a regular visitor to the Mount Claremont Living Well Centre, Ms Fabling says.
“She currently walks with a crutch and is worried about falling. She had a fall last year and broke her arm.
“Her circuit program has some strengthening and specific balance exercises that she can complete each week with the assistance of staff and volunteers.”
An accidental fall is often the first step in the physical decline of an older person, particularly if the fall results in a serious injury, she said.
Globally, about one in three older adults experience a fall each year.
Other participants in the program want to improve their strength to assist with back pain.
Another participant, Marty Booysen from Bethanie’s Kwinana Living Well Centre, has a goal to improve breathlessness.
“She has been very concerned about this. We discussed increasing her walking distance and the amount of time she walks every day. She also performs the weight-based circuit exercises when at the centre, to improve her shortness of breath.”