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NHS continuing care explained

Posted on 30/05/2016

‘Continuing care’ has been hitting the headlines recently, as families are waiting to find out if they are going to be refunded retrospectively for care fees should their loved ones have been eligible for continuing healthcare from the NHS. It is thought that many older people had to sell their homes to pay for their care, where they should have been funded through the NHS for their high nursing needs. An article on the BBC website has more details on these outstanding cases.  

Continuing healthcare is not as well known as local authority social care funding. If you have care needs, you are entitled to an assessment by your local authority, and depending on the level of need (which is means tested), you may be helped financially. We go into a lot more detail on local authority funding and eligibility on the website.

The NHS continuing healthcare is completely separate, although services are starting to be joined up more and some people may be offered a joint package of care that combines both NHS and local authority help. Continuing healthcare is a free service for people who are being treated outside of a hospital and have a ‘primary health need’. It is for those who have substantial and ongoing care needs, but it isn’t dependent on any one condition or illness. Your eligibility is assessed and, if you are granted continuing healthcare, you will be given help either at home or in a care home. There is more information about the assessment procedure on the NHS website.

Once you are found eligible for continuing care, a care and support package will be tailored to your needs. You work alongside a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to come up with a care plan. As of 2014, you may also be offered a personal health budget, which helps you to gain more control over the services that you receive.

If you are found to not be eligible for continuing care, but you are assessed as needing nursing care in a care home, you may be eligible for NHS-funded nursing care, which means the NHS pays a contribution towards your registered nursing care.

If you are not eligible for any portion of NHS funding, then you should work with your local authority to ensure that your care needs are being met. Our Service Users section on the website has lots of information on choosing the right care and support for you. 

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