NHS continuing healthcare is free care outside of hospital that is arranged and funded by the NHS. It is only available for people who need ongoing healthcare and who meet the eligibility criteria.
If the person you care for is eligible, they can receive NHS continuing healthcare:
- in their 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 care home fees.
To be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, the person you care for must be assessed as having a ‘primary health need’ and have a complex medical condition and substantial, ongoing care needs.
The first step is to have their care needs assessed by a health or social care professional who will use a screening tool called the Checklist Tool. If this screening suggests that they may be eligible for continuing healthcare, a full assessment of their needs will be arranged, using a tool called the Decision Support Tool.
You can ask for an assessment can be done by the health or social care professional working with the person you care for or by the NHS continuing healthcare co-ordinator – ask your GP, your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) or your local PCT for their details.
Consent is needed from either the patient or from whomever holds the power of attorney.
For most people, there’s an initial checklist assessment, which is used to decide if they need a full assessment. However, if someone needs care urgently, for example if they are terminally ill, they should be assessed under the “fast track pathway”