Rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care

As the Australian population continues to increase in age, supporting older adults to live meaningful and fulfilling lives for as long as possible has become a priority. In a 2022 survey conducted by ARIIA, the aged care workforce nominated ‘rehabilitation, reablement, and restorative care’ as a priority topic for the sector.

Understanding rehabilitation, reablement, and restorative care

These three approaches aim to help older adults maintain the highest levels of function and recover from injuries and illness. This promotes a high quality of life by enabling people to continue to live independently, engaging socially and participating in the activities that bring them enjoyment.

This visual model shows that reablement and restorative care programs provided to older adults are less intense in approach and can provide a greater reach of services at lower costs. The complexity of rehabilitation and the need for health professionals to deliver rehabilitative services increases its expense and reduces its reach.

Rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care relationship

Image: reproduced with permission from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners from: Poulos CJ, Poulos RG. A function-focused approach in primary care for older people with functional decline: Making the most of reablement and restorative care. Aust J Gen Pract. 2019 Jul;48(7):434-439. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-01-19-4808.

Rehabilitation evidence and resources

The Knowledge and Implementation Hub has brought together the research evidence on what works in rehabilitation care with Australian online learning and practice tools and resources. This involved:

  1. A scoping review of published systematic reviews that revealed the main ‘evidence themes’ across the rehabilitation research.
  2. An environmental scan of online resources in diverse formats such as guidelines, videos, learning modules, and downloadable information sheets.

The work was guided by an advisory group of research experts with expertise in the topic and people with experience in the sector.

Connect to PubMed evidence

This PubMed topic search is limited to home care and residential aged care settings. It includes the topics of rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care. You can choose to view all citations, strongest evidence only (randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, and guidelines), or free full-text articles.

Navigating the sector

Sometimes you need some background information or to know what is happening in the sector. The research and project supports section has lots of interesting and useful resources to help you start a project, plan a study or run a training session at work.

Research and project supports

Australian projects and initiatives

The Hub team has brought together information on current Australian research trials, projects, and initiatives focused on improving outcomes for people requiring rehabilitation, reablement or restorative care at home and in residential care settings.

Browse projects