NHS Continuing Care

1 Jul

elderly_medicationNHS Continuing Care is a non means tested form of funding for people in need of care.  It is often granted to the elderly, but it can also be granted to the learning disabled.  The test is straightforward: is the reason the person needs care primarily because of their social care needs or healthcare needs.  The needs of the individual are seen as primarily one or the other, if they are considered to have a primary healthcare need, then the funding is granted, if the primary need is social care, then the individual is subject to Local Authority means tested funding.

The setting of the funding is not relevant to whether it is granted, other than it is not granted in NHS hospitals, as this is already free at the point of delivery for UK citizens.  I have been successful in obtaining funding to a couple of individuals in their own home, but in general this is rare and most people who receive NHS Continuing Care funding are in a care home and usually in a home with nursing care.

The funding emanates from case law and is granted according to the “Nature, Complexity, Intensitiy and Unpredictability” of the individual, according to the Department of Health, however caselaw indicates that it is an issue of the “Quantity or Quality” of the care provided.  In respect of the care, the qualification of the person providing the care is irrelevant, it is about the nature of the task undertaken.  This does however mean that in general the people providing the care are skilled and are usually also qualified.  The reasons for the qualification of the carers is around the way that care homes are run, with the trained staff undertaking the more complex roles.

For families trying to obtain NHS Continuing Care funding there is a minefield of complex terms to overcome.  The families are usually struggling to come to terms with the fraility of their beloved relative, grieving the person that they have lost, as they are no longer the person they once were, but unable to fully grieve them, as they haven’t passed away.  The issue is very emotive, since funding for care can be £25-30k+ per year.

My one piece of advice that I tell to most families is to understand the nature of caring for an elderly relative.  The process is one of crisis management and if they understand that things will keep going wrong, when the happen they are easier to cope with, eg if they families get the funding sorted, then their relative will take a turn for the worst in terms of health.  There is always another problem coming, so expect it rather than think that if they just sort out the current problem everything will be fine.  It will be for a while, but then something else will go wrong.

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