New intermediate care framework shows why investing in rehab is so important

19 September 2023

The BGS has been campaigning for improved rehabilitation support for older people, both in acute and community care. We were pleased to see NHS England publish a new framework on intermediate care last week and a new tiered, whole system model for community rehabilitation and reablement.

These new resources offer Integrated Care Systems advice on how to plan and implement community services that help recovery after hospital discharge. The BGS was pleased to have the opportunity to feed into the guidance as it was developed, through direct engagement and as a member of the Community Rehabilitation Alliance.

While the framework does not specify target population groups, the group that will use intermediate care services most often are older people. As emphasised in our Blueprint, access to rehabilitation services is a vital part of recovery for individuals and for health and care systems. As winter approaches, access to such services will be key to enabling older people to leave hospital sooner, and with the right support to ensure that they are not readmitted. We urge Integrated Care Systems to consider their multi-agency rehabilitation and reablement capacity as they plan for winter and to ensure that they put in place timely and effective support to enable older people to regain their independence and wellbeing.


BGS President, Professor Adam Gordon, said:

Rehabilitation and reablement services are essential to ensuring that older people are supported to recover from periods of ill health and are able to stay well. Too many older people currently get stuck in hospital when they are ready for discharge because the right intermediate care is not in place. Investing in rehabilitation is a cost-effective way of aiding their recovery, promoting independence and reducing their chances of readmission.

We are pleased to see this highlighted in NHS England’s new intermediate care framework. We welcome the fact that the framework also acknowledges the need to invest in step-up intermediate care for people experiencing a crisis or deterioration in the community.

BGS members know the value of rehabilitation to older people and its importance for person-centred, integrated care. We now call on Integrated Care Systems to act on the advice in the new framework and model, and plan how they can best provide both step-up and step-down rehabilitation and reablement services for older people.

Investing in community rehabilitation and reablement services will help to ensure that our systems are better prepared for winter and more able to meet the needs of older people as the main users of our health and care services."