NHS Continuing Healthcare is available to someone whose primary need is medical care, provides fully-funded health and social care, and can be administered in their home, a care home or a hospice. In this Age Space Podcast, Annabel James (Age Space founder) and James Butler, our resident financial expert discuss what NHS Continuing Healthcare is and the struggles that can be encountered when applying for it.
Jason explains what NHS Continuing Healthcare is
NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) means that the NHS has assessed that someone’s primary need is medical care. This means that they will take over all of their care costs, no matter if that means paying for a live-in carer, or care home or hospice fees. It is a step up from the NHS just covering the cost of nursing fees, Jason explains, that might only equate to around £150-160 per week (where the primary need is not medical). Instead, NHS Continuing Healthcare doesn’t really have an upper limit, and can mean that upwards of £40,000 worth of care costs are completed covered.
Jason talks about eligibility and the application process
To be eligible you have to have been assessed that your primary care need is medical. Jason explains how he went through the process in an attempt to get his father-in-law NHS Continuing Healthcare, and the struggles he faced.
There are two routes that have different time scales. Where there are serious and obvious primary medical needs, there is a “fast track checklist”. This assessment will be pushed through the system a lot quicker. For a lot of people however, they will need to go the through the “standard checklist”. First this involves a medical practitioner, like your GP, going through the checklist with you. This only acts as a guide to whether you might have grounds for a full assessment. For Jason this took at least 7 weeks. It’s really important that you stay persistent as everyone deserves the right to be assessed, and the upside of getting funding can be huge.
Next, the NHS funding team will rely on the judgement of 3-4 care specialists to decide whether someone is eligible for funding. This process is difficult and can take a long time to complete. Once again, it’s important to stick with it.
If confirmed, your relative will start receiving funding immediately. However, they will be continually assessed on regular a regular basis, within the first 12 weeks and once a year after that.
What if I'm not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?
Receiving NHS CHC is difficult, and not uncommon for it not to be supplied. However, in addition to local authority funding and government benefits you might still be eligible for, you might still be able to receive funding from the NHS for the nursing component of care of around £150-160.
If I'm having an NHS CHC assessment, can I not get a Care Needs Assessment?
A Care Needs Assessment is a free and legal right for everyone. Both assessments are not connected so you can have both at the same time. However, if you are found eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare you might have to reject funding from the council.
Do my other benefits and care funding stop?
Yes. Benefits like attendance allowance for example will have to stop if you are getting NHS Continuing Healthcare. For most this should be fine as the latter is worth a lot more. You will have to tell the relevant government and local council agencies (where your receive these benefits from) that you are receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare, or else you may be liable to pay back money you get at the same time as NHS funding.
Where can I get support?
As Jason explains, the charity Beacon provide a lot of free general advice. In addition, for a modest fee, they can help with your own application and throughout the NHS Continuing Healthcare process. Jason argues that potential benefit of £40,000+ of care home fees being paid really do make these costs worth it.
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