Meeting complex needs

What is continuing healthcare?

Continuing healthcare is care that is provided outside of hospital that has been arranged and funded by the NHS. Also known as ‘fully funded NHS care’, continuing healthcare is available over an extended period of time to meet an individual’s physical and mental health needs.

We ensure that those who are eligible for continuing healthcare receive the care and support they need at no extra cost.


Who is it for?

Anyone over the age of 18 years old with greater care needs may be entitled to NHS continuing healthcare. Individuals who are eligible for continuous care are likely to have complex, substantial and ongoing care needs. For example, people with a disability or a chronic illness may have greater care needs, therefore require continuous care to ensure these needs are met.

An individual’s eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare depends on their care needs rather than their particular diagnosis or condition. If a person’s care needs change, they may no longer be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.

NHS continuing healthcare is for adults only. Children and young people can receive a continuing care package if they have care needs that cannot be met by existing universal or specialist services alone. Find out more about the children and young people’s continuing care national framework here.

Where can I receive continuing healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare can be provided in a variety of places outside of hospital, such as in an individual’s home or in a registered care home. The NHS will pay for this health and social care.

The NHS will provide personal care to eligible individuals living in their home to help them with domestic tasks, such as bathing, getting dressed, cooking and shopping. In a care home, the NHS will pay the care home fees for those who are entitled to continuing healthcare.

The NHS Northampton ICB Choice and Equity Policy - Jan23_.pdf [pdf] 339KB provides further information for patients

How does it work?

To get continuing healthcare, a team of healthcare professionals must agree that the individual has a primary health need. This is decided by looking at:

  • What help is needed
  • How complex the persons needs are
  • How intense or severe he persons needs can be
  • How unpredictable he persons needs are. This includes any risks to the person’s health if the right care is not provided at the right time.

The checklist assessment can be completed by a nurse, doctor, other healthcare professional or social worker.


Care packages

Northamptonshire Integrated Care Board has developed a policy outlining how we arrange and pay for care for those who are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.

The policy ensures that care is arranged in a timely manner, reflects the choice and preferences of individuals, but balances these with our responsibility to commission care that is safe, effective and makes best use of available resources across the system.


Useful contacts

If you would like to speak to someone about continuing healthcare for someone registered with a GP in Northamptonshire email or telephone 0121 611 0640.

Find out more information about continuing healthcare on the NHS website. You can also contact the Beacon Independent Advice Service.

If you have a complaint or concern relating to this service please contact our patient experience team