If you or someone you know has been in hospital or had an illness or fall, you may need temporary care to help you get back to normal and stay independent.
This temporary care is called intermediate care, reablement or aftercare.
Most people receive this type of care for around 1 or 2 weeks, although it can be free for a maximum of 6 weeks. It will depend on how soon you are able to cope at home.
If you need care for longer than 6 weeks, you'll have to pay for it.
When you can get free short-term care and how to get it
After leaving hospital
Care can help you recover from an illness or an operation.
Hospital staff should arrange care before you leave hospital.
Speak to the person in charge of you going home (discharge co-ordinator) to make sure this happens.
Contact social services if you have been discharged and care hasn't been arranged.
Your hospital won't get involved after you leave.
After a fall or short illness
Care can help you avoid going into hospital if you don't need to.
If you or someone you know falls or needs help because they're ill, speak to your GP practice or social services.
They should be able to arrange for someone to come to your home and discuss what you need.
If you have started to find everyday tasks difficult
You can get help with daily tasks. This can help you learn new ways of doing things before needing paid home help.
If you find everyday tasks difficult, contact social services at your council and ask for a needs assessment. This will identify the type of care or equipment you need.
What care you'll get
A team with a mix of people from the NHS and social services will help you do the things you need to do to stay independent.
This might include getting dressed, preparing a meal, or getting up and down stairs.
They might care for you at first, but will help you practise doing things on your own.
Your team might include:
- a nurse
- an occupational therapist
- a physiotherapist
- a social worker
They'll start with an assessment that looks at what you can do. You'll agree together what you want to do and set out a plan.
The plan will include a contact person who's in the team and the times and dates they'll visit you.
What happens when aftercare finishes
When care finishes, your team should work with you and your family or carers to agree what happens next.
This should include:
- other care you might need, such as home help
- how you can refer yourself again if you need to
- what you should do if something goes wrong
- information about what other types of support or equipment might help
Ask your team's contact person about what happens next if your care is coming to an end.