Continuing care is care given outside of the hospital over an extended period of time, to meet the physical or mental health needs of people with a disability, injury, or illness. It's a package of care arranged and funded by the NHS. It's free of charge to the person receiving the care.
To be eligible for NHS continuing care, the person must be assessed by a health professional as having a 'primary health need' - a complex medical condition and has substantial ongoing care needs.
If NHS continuing care is provided in the home of the person receiving it, it will cover personal care and healthcare costs. It may also include support for a carer.
If someone is eligible for continuing healthcare funding, they may also have the right to have a personal health budget.
Personal health budgets
Anyone who is eligible for NHS continuing care funding now has the right to have their own personal health budget.
This is a set amount of money to spend on the support and services that will meet the health and wellbeing needs of the person receiving them, as agreed between them or their representative, and the local NHS team.
It can be provided in a number of ways, including direct payments, to suit each person and their support plan. It can be spent on a range of activities, services and some types of equipment, tailored to best meet the needs.
Personal Health Budgets are not ‘new money’ but represent the opportunity to utilise money already in the NHS in a different way, to maximise the impact and benefit of that money by personalising the way that people receive healthcare.
Getting a personal health budget
To get a personal health budget:
- You'll need to speak to your NHS continuing care case manager and tell them that you want to apply for a personal health budget.
- You'll be given an ‘indicative budget’ (an estimated budget).
- You'll be given a personalised support plan which helps to decide how you are going to spend your budget to meet your health and wellbeing needs.
Your completed care and support plan will need to be sent in for approval, and a final budget agreed.