What is NHS continuing healthcare?
NHS continuing healthcare is the name given to a package of care which is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals outside of hospital who have ongoing health care needs. You can receive NHS continuing healthcare in any setting, including your own home or in a care home.
NHS continuing healthcare is free, unlike support provided by local authorities for which a financial charge may be made depending on your income and savings. If you are found to be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare in your own home, this means that the NHS will pay for healthcare (e.g. services from a community nurse or specialist therapist) and associated social care needs (e.g. personal care and domestic tasks, help with bathing, dressing, food preparation and shopping). In a care home, the NHS also pays for your care home fees, including board and accommodation.
Who is eligible for NHS continuing healthcare?
Anyone over 18 years of age assessed as having a certain level of care needs may be entitled to NHS continuing healthcare. It is not dependent on a particular disease, diagnosis or condition, nor on who provides the care or where that care is provided.
If your overall assessment of care needs shows that you have a ‘primary health need’, you should be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. Once eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, your care will be funded by the NHS, this is however, subject to regular reviews, and, should your care needs change, the funding arrangements may also change.
Whether someone has a ‘primary health need’ is assessed by looking at all of their care needs and relating them to four key indicators:
- nature – this describes the characteristics and type of the individual’s needs and the overall effect these needs have on the individual, including the type of interventions required to manage those needs
- complexity – this is about how the individual’s needs present and interact and the level of skill required to monitor the symptoms, treat the condition and/or manage the care
- intensity – this is the extent and severity of the individual’s needs and the support needed to meet them, which includes the need for sustained/ongoing care
- unpredictability – this is about how hard it is to predict changes in a individual’s needs that might create challenges in managing them, including the risks to the individual’s health if adequate and timely care is not provided