NHS continuing healthcare is the name given to a package of care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals who are not in hospital who have complex ongoing healthcare needs. Unlike Social Care funding, there is no upper (or lower) limit to the care needs that continuing healthcare can support, so may well be worth considering if you have a primary healthcare issue that Social Services are struggling to support.
Where is NHS continuing healthcare provided?
If you are eligible, you can receive NHS continuing healthcare in any setting, for example:
- in your own home – the NHS will pay for healthcare, such as services from a community nurse or specialist therapist, and personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing and laundry
- in a care home – as well as healthcare and personal care, the NHS will pay for your care home fees, including board and accommodation
NHS continuing healthcare is free, unlike social and community care services provided by local authorities for which a charge may be made, depending on your income and savings.
Who is eligible for NHS continuing healthcare?
To be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare you must be over 18 and have a complex medical condition and substantial and ongoing care needs. You must have a ‘primary health need’, which means that your main or primary need for care must relate to your health. Eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare does not depend on:
- a specific health condition, illness or diagnosis
- who provides the care, or
- where the care is provided
If you have a disability, or if you’ve been diagnosed with a long-term illness or condition, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. To find out whether you are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, your care needs will be first need to be assessed.
What if my care needs change?
Your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare will be reviewed regularly. If your care needs change, the funding arrangements may also change, so it’s best to speak about this with your care manager.