Continuing healthcare – things you should know
Posted on 11th October 2023
What is NHS continuing healthcare?
NHS continuing healthcare is provided in hospitals, at home or in care homes, for example.
If existing NHS services don’t meet the needs of children and young people they will have a continuing care package instead.
The first step is an assessment by a team of healthcare professionals. This looks at the help you need and how complex your needs are, including conditions that may vary over time. The effect on your health if you don’t receive the right care at the right time is also considered.
Your views about your care and support are an important part of the assessment process. Your carers and family members should take part too.
Even if you don’t currently qualify for continuing healthcare the NHS might still pay for part of your support, along with your local authority. However, you might also have to contribute to the costs yourself.
An organisation called Beacon provides free independent advice on NHS continuing healthcare.
Assessing your continuing healthcare needs
A checklist assessment provides an overview of whether you’re likely to meet the criteria for a full assessment. A nurse, doctor, other healthcare professional or social worker will probably complete the checklist.
A multidisciplinary team (MDT) completes the full assessment. The team must include at least two healthcare professionals from different disciplines such as a nurse and a social worker. They will consider things like your nutrition, mobility, medication, and ability to communicate.
You’ll receive copies of documents and a clear explanation of the decision about whether you should receive continuing healthcare.
Urgent healthcare needs
Sadly, some conditions can affect your health very quickly. When this happens or for someone reaching the end of their life, there’s a fast-track process. This can provide appropriate care and support in as little as 48 hours.
Receiving continuing healthcare
Following your assessment, you’ll have a say in decisions about where and how your care is provided. This might include care at home and your own personal health budget. Alternatively, you might think a nursing in a care home is the best option.
Normally your care and support is reviewed within the first three months and then at least once a year. A review might also take place if your care needs change.
Alternatives to continuing healthcare
If you don’t qualify for continuing healthcare but need nursing in your care home you can receive NHS-funded nursing care. You’ll receive help with the cost of your registered nursing care regardless of the funding for your other care fees.
You can combine your local authority support package with a personal health budget to pay directly for your healthcare.
You can pay privately for additional services alongside a continuing healthcare package. However, different professionals will provide these services in another setting.
If you no longer have mental capacity to understand your assessment health professionals can make decisions in your best interests. An alternative is to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney for your care in advance. This means someone you choose can make decisions about your care on your behalf.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss a Lasting Power of Attorney for your care.
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