Building reablement capabilities in the aged care workforce

Dr Claire Gough

ARIIA, Flinders University

Aged care services are a critical aspect of society given the increasing age of our population. Older adults are entering the latter years of life with more chronic conditions than before and often require assistance to live independently in their own homes or move to residential aged care facilities. In recent years, there has been a push for reablement to be integrated into aged care. Reablement is a person-centred approach that aims to empower older people to regain skills and independence, moving away from the traditional ‘passive care recipient’ to an ‘active participant,’ encouraging ownership and self-driven independence. [1] Reablement has the potential to improve an individual's quality of life, as older people are supported to regain their independence, this may reduce long-term care needs, and subsequently the workload of the aged care workforce.

In August 2023, the ARIIA Knowledge and Implementation Hub (KIH) will be supporting ARIIA’s Innovator Training Program (ITP) to provide a specially themed ITP program on how to integrate reablement approaches into aged care service delivery. This topic was nominated by the aged care sector as a high priority issue via ARIIA’s annual national survey. This need corresponds with the Australian Government’s recommendations for reablement to be integrated into aged care services to improve the quality of aged care delivery [2, 3] This reablement-themed ITP will be delivered over 10-weeks via online learning modules and co-design workshops that aim to assist participants understand a specific problem around the integration of reablement in their service, find a best-practice evidence-based solution that they can adapt to their situation, and plan a measurable outcome for change. To support the program, the KIH have carried out an environmental scan to identify resources that may be useful to support care workers increase the independence of older people in their care. These resources can be found on the ARIIA website here, and are supported by the ‘Rehabilitation, reablement, and restorative care’ priority topic which can be accessed here.

This ITP program is an exciting opportunity to inform the aged care workforce and support the independence of older adults receiving care. To expand on this body of work and inform future approaches in this space, the KIH will be holding a round table at the end of 2023 to determine the state of play for reablement in aged care. These discussions will involve key stakeholders and aim to identify barriers to reablement approaches in the day-to-day delivery of aged care and ways to facilitate reablement to achieve best outcomes for older people.

If you are interested in being involved in these round table discussions, please email

  1. Maxwell H, Bramble M, Prior SJ, Heath A, Reeves NS, Marlow A, et al. Staff experiences of a reablement approach to care for older people in a regional Australian community: A qualitative study. Health Soc Care Community. 2021;29(3):685-693.  
  2. Department of Health and Aged Care (Australia). Commonwealth Home Support Programme: Program manual 2023-2024 [Internet]. Canberra, ACT: DoHAC; 2018 [updated 2023 Jun; cited 2023 Aug 2]. Available from:
  3. Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Final report: Care, dignity and respect - Volume 1 summary and recommendations [Internet]. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia; 2021 [cited 2023 Apr 16]. Available from:  

*The views and opinions expressed in Knowledge Blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ARIIA, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.