Information on NHS Continuing Healthcare

NHS continuing healthcare is a package of continuing care provided outside hospital, arranged and funded solely by the NHS, for people with ongoing healthcare needs.

Continuing care means care provided by health and social care professionals over an extended period of time, to meet adults’ physical or mental health needs caused by disability, accident or illness.

If you need continuing care, your care needs are likely to be complex, substantial and ongoing, caused by a disability or chronic illness, or following hospital treatment.

The funding of continuing care can be complicated.

If you are eligible for NHS continuing care this will be paid for by the NHS.

If you are not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you may receive continuing care as part of a package funded jointly by the NHS and your local authority (sometimes known as a joint package of care). There is no charge for the NHS part of a joint package of care.

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, your main or primary need for care must relate to your health.

For example, people who are eligible are likely to:

  • have a complex medical condition that requires a lot of care and support
  • need highly specialised nursing support

Someone nearing the end of their life is also likely to be eligible if they have a condition that is rapidly getting worse and may be terminal.

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.

Assessment of your care needs

To decide if you’re eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, your care needs will be assessed by a health or social care professional. If the assessment confirms that you’re eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, the NHS will pay for your care. For more information, see How will my eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare be assessed?

For more information visit the NHS website Choices website

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