NHS Continuing Health Care

Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is known as NHS Continuing Health Care.

Where can NHS Continuing Health Care be provided?

NHS Continuing Health Care can be provided in a variety of settings outside hospital, such as in a patients home or in a care home.

NHS Continuing Health Care is an ongoing package of health and social care that is provided by the NHS when a patient is found to have a primary health care need. Such care is provided to individuals aged 18 or over to meet needs that have arisen as a result of disability, accident or illness.

To be eligible for NHS Continuing Health Care, a patient must be assessed by a team of healthcare professionals (a multidisciplinary team). The team will look at all the care needs and relate them to:

  • what help is needed
  • how complex the needs are
  • how intense the needs can be
  • how unpredictable the needs are, including any risks to health if the right care isn’t provided at the right time

Eligibility for NHS Continuing Health Care depends on the assessed needs, and not on any particular diagnosis or condition. If needs change, then eligibility for NHS Continuing Health Care may also change.

The patient will be fully involved in the assessment process, kept informed and have their views about needs and support taken into account. Carers and family members should also be consulted where appropriate.

A decision about eligibility for a full assessment for NHS Continuing Health Care should usually be made within 28 days of an initial assessment or request for a full assessment.

In addition some patients may be eligible for other forms of funding. The District Nursing or Macmillan Teams can advise further on the options available. Two additional sources of information are Marie Curie or the Patient Website

Fast-Track assessment for NHS Continuing Health Care

If a patients health is deteriorating quickly and is nearing ‘end of life’, consideration should be given to applying for the NHS Continuing Health Care fast-track pathway via a District Nurse. Through the Fast-Track process, appropriate care and a support package can be put in place as soon as possible – usually within 48 hours.

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