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Reablement teams’ roles: a qualitative study of interdisciplinary teams’ experiences

Authors Hjelle KM, Skutle O, Alvsvåg H, Førland O

Received 21 December 2017

Accepted for publication 8 May 2018

Published 3 July 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 305—316

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S160480

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Kari Margrete Hjelle,1,3 Olbjørg Skutle,2,3 Herdis Alvsvåg,4 Oddvar Førland3,4

1Department of Health and Functioning, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway; 2Department of Welfare and Participation, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway; 3Centre for Care Research Western Norway, Bergen, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway; 4Faculty of Health Sciences, VID Specialized University, Bergen Campus, Bergen, Norway

Introduction: Reablement is a service for home-dwelling older people experiencing a decline in health and function. The focus of reablement is the improvement of the person’s function and coping of his or he valued daily activities. The health care professionals and the home care personnel are working together with the older person toward his goals. In reablement, health care personnel are organized in an interdisciplinary team and collaborate with the older person in achieving his goals. This organizing changes the roles of home care personnel from working almost alone to collaborating with different health care professionals. There is little scientific knowledge describing the roles of different health care professionals and home care personnel in the context of reablement. This study’s objective is to explore and describe the roles of interdisciplinary teams in reablement services in a Norwegian setting.
Method: Two interdisciplinary teams consisting of 17 health care professionals (i.e. occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses, and social educators) and ten home care personnel (auxiliary nurses and nursing assistants) participated in three focus group discussions. In addition, three interviews were conducted with occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses, and auxiliary nurses. The focus group discussions and the interviews were all digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the qualitative content analysis.
Results: The health care professionals’ main role was to be consultants and advisors, consisting of (1) planning, adjusting, and conducting follow-ups of the intervention; (2) delegating tasks; and (3) supervising the home care personnel. The home care personnel’s main role was to be personal trainers, consisting of (1) encouraging and counseling the older adults to perform everyday activities; and (2) conveying a sense of security while they performed everyday activities. The role of interdisciplinary collaboration was a common role for both the health care professionals and the home care personnel.
Conclusion: The health care professionals established the setting, and had the main roles of supervision, delegating tasks, and main responsibility for the intervention. The home care personnel accepted the delegations and had a main role as personal trainers. Their work changed from body care to encouraging and counseling the older person to perform activities themselves in a safe way. The health care professionals and the home care personnel collaborated closely across roles. The home care personnel experienced a shift in role from home care to a person-centered care. This was perceived as strengthening the health care identity of their role.

Keywords: reablement, interdisciplinary team work, collaboration, roles, care work

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