Bridging the gap: Study protocol for development of an implementation strategy for evidence-informed reablement and rehabilitation for community-dwelling people with dementia

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2023 May:108:104943. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2023.104943. Epub 2023 Jan 21.


Background: Extensive research supports the use of goal-directed reablement and rehabilitation interventions to address a range of physical, functional, cognitive and behavioural needs of people living with dementia. Despite this, evidence-informed multidisciplinary reablement and rehabilitation interventions are not being offered in usual dementia care across Australia. An examination is needed of how best to implement reablement and rehabilitation interventions within the community-based dementia care sector.

Methods: Drawing on implementation science, this study uses a four-phase mixed-methods retrospective and prospective approach: (1) clinical audit to evaluate current clinical practice, and through focus groups with practitioners, identify practitioner-led goals and targets for practice change; (2) Delphi survey to converge opinions from the diverse stakeholders involved in reablement in dementia, to reach national consensus around an implementation strategy; (3) hybrid pragmatic effectiveness-implementation pilot will facilitate testing of the implementation strategy in parallel with exploring effectiveness of the reablement intervention specifically within a real-world Australian community aged care context; (4) implementation capacity building.

Discussion: This study will result in a freely available, nationally relevant implementation protocol, designed and tailored via input from key stakeholders over a series of iterative project activities. By testing this protocol via a pilot implementation-effectiveness study, we will generate national information about effectiveness of evidence-informed reablement programs for people living with dementia across various community aged care settings. Outcomes have potential to influence policy and drive widespread practice change, increasing access to evidence-informed reablement and rehabilitation for people living with dementia across Australia.

Keywords: Dementia; Implementation; Protocol; Reablement; Rehabilitation; Service development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Dementia*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living* / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies