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End of life care

NHS continuing healthcare

Continuing healthcare is care given over an extended period of time to meet the physical or mental health needs of adults with a disability, injury or illness. It involves a package of care that is arranged and funded by the NHS and is free of charge to the person receiving the care. This is sometimes called "fully funded NHS care".

Continuing healthcare is not provided for everyone, but if you have health needs, you may qualify for it. Your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare depends on whether your main needs are healthcare needs. An assessment is carried out to decide whether someone is eligible.   

You can talk to your doctor or nurse about getting an assessment. You can also contact the continuing healthcare team in your local clinical commissioning group (CCG), which manages local health services, to ask about an assessment.

Read more about being assessed for NHS continuing healthcare.

Where can I receive continuing healthcare?

NHS continuing healthcare can be provided by the NHS in any setting, including a care home, hospice, hospital or your home. NHS continuing healthcare covers both health and social care needs. If NHS continuing healthcare is provided in a care home, it will cover the care home fees, including the cost of accommodation, and personal and other care. If NHS continuing healthcare is provided at home, it will cover the costs of personal and other care.

Healthcare at home can include care from a specialist therapist or a community nurse, and personal care can include help with washing and getting dressed. It can also include help with wider needs, such as shopping and using other services in the community.

In both a care home and your own home, the CCG will use the assessment to decide what care needs they should meet.

The role of local social services

If you receive NHS continuing healthcare at home, local social services may still have responsibilities to provide some services for you, although the CCG will be responsible for meeting your key care needs. When local social services provide some care services, they will usually do a financial assessment to decide whether you must make any financial contribution for these. The NHS does not charge for any NHS continuing healthcare services. 

Read about what to do if you are not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.

If you have feedback about your care or the service you have received from your GP or another health service in your local community, you can contact NHS England.

Page last reviewed: 05/09/2015

Next review due: 05/09/2017

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