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Reablement and shared goals of self-reliance among users and care workers

2016 Conference Presentation

Policy Denmark

6 September 2016

Reablement and shared goals of self-reliance among users and care workers

Tine Rostgaard, KORA, Denmark


According to the European Commission’s recent policy initiative on social investment, Danish long-term care for older people offers new and innovative perspectives on ageing and the management of the risks associated therewith. The new policy of ‘reablement’ (rehabilitering) represents a change from a so-called ‘passive’ to a more ‘active’ approach in home care, by offering time-limited, multi-disciplinary, person-centered and goal-oriented interventions. It aims to help frail older people to retain, regain or gain skills so that they can manage everyday living skills as independently as possible. However, little is known about how this affects the cooperation and relationship between user and care staff as well as between care staff of different disciplinary backgrounds.

Based on interview and observations in two Danish municipalities, this paper investigates whether the goal of self-reliance is a shared goal and how it is applied in daily practice. Overall findings show that while self-reliance is often the stated administrative goal, it is far from easy to obtain and make attractive to the client, not least in regards to cleaning. The multi-disciplinary approach ensures close cooperation in particular between care workers and physiotherapists, to a degree where the latter sets the standard of good care practice.