Transforming community rehabilitation

A new course at the University of Winchester aims to enable students to learn about and consider how to transform rehabilitation


Led by CSP assistant director Ruth ten Hove, the short module will give practitioners a real taste of advanced practice, she says, and fill a steppingstone gap for allied health professionals, allowing them to think about and to make the most of their role.

‘The focus of the module is how transforming rehabilitation can meet the needs of the population living with long term conditions.’ 

Students will have the opportunity to consider population health approaches, the social determinants of health, health inequalities and embedding a self-management approach. 

They will also engage with the current evidence, to focus on how a rehabilitation holistic assessment and interventions can bring benefit for this population. 

The final session of the course focuses on system, leadership and change management and how to make the most of the current opportunities open to practitioners. Alongside learning, students will undertake a quality improvement project. 

Ruth explains: ‘The population is living longer but not necessarily well. More people in middle age (estimates between 15 per cent and 30 per cent of the UK population) are living with more than two long-term conditions. Research findings identify that low levels of physical activity and higher levels of sedentary behaviour are also much more common in people with long-term conditions. 

Rehabilitation has much to offer this population; however traditional models of rehab which focus on a condition specific approach do not take account of those people living with one or more condition. Now is a real opportunity for services, practitioners, and stakeholders to review the evidence, and develop a modern, workable, and integrated approach for rehabilitation. Key to transformation is the development, support and leadership of and in the workforce.

Suzanna Preedy, AHP lead for Southern NHS Trust and head of education and training, highlighted the huge benefit that a highly skilled rehabilitation workforce can bring to the community, in terms of enabling people to live well, prevent avoidable admission to hospital and speed up discharge from hospital. But also, the proactive role practitioners have in their approach to secondary prevention, stopping or slowing the progression of poor health to complexity, frailty and disability. She also identified a gap for her staff, in terms of programmes that address advancing practice in rehabilitation skills. 

Suzanna worked with Justine Clements, business development manager in the faculty of health and wellbeing to develop and lead an exciting, innovative programme of development. 

‘The University of Winchester was commissioned by Health Education England to create an ACP programme with a strong focus on the multi-professional education needs in primary care and community care. 

‘Several staff within the University of Winchester’s network were already engaged in leading this work nationally and the University of Winchester has grown its capacity to deliver contemporary ACP education through the appointment of clinical experts as visiting professors and lecturers, who can offer students a rich range of expertise,’ said Justine. 

‘We have been pleased to work closely with Dr Esther Clift and Ruth ten Hove to develop our community rehabilitation programmes. We have found strong collaboration and partnership working between the NHS and the university to be pivotal in producing robust academic and clinical postgraduate courses, which are fit for purpose, preparing a resilient, highly skilled, multi-professional workforce.’

The students on the programme come from a range of professional backgrounds, working in multi-professional teams in the community. They are committed to improvement and are looking forward to engaging in a programme which facilitates both more in-depth learning but is also focused on demonstrating impact. The study skills for level 7 learning are critical and integral to this programme so that practitioners have the tools and resources showcase their ideas, innovations and improvement plans. 

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