NHS Continuing Healthcare

Continuing healthcare is a complex and highly sensitive area which can affect people at a very vulnerable stage of their lives.

What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?

NHS Continuing Healthcare is a package of care, which is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals outside of hospital who have ongoing healthcare needs.

Who can get it?

NHS Continuing Healthcare is not dependent on any particular disease, diagnosis or medical condition. Anyone assessed as needing a certain level of healthcare can receive NHS Continuing Healthcare. It can be provided in any setting including your own home or a care home.

Your health will need to be assessed by a nurse and / or other health professional and a Social Care Worker. This assessment will be used by your local Continuing Health Care Team to decide if you are eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare. The decision will be based on the type of care needs you have, how complex they are, how difficult they are to manage or control, how severe they are, what risks they present to yourself and others, whether they suddenly change and how much help you need to manage them. If your assessed care needs show that you have a primary health need you should be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.

How much does it cost?

NHS Continuing Healthcare is free, unlike help from Adult Social Care for which there may be a charge.

At Home

If you remain living at home this means that the NHS will pay for healthcare such as services from a community nurse or specialist therapist and personal care such as help with bathing, dressing and laundry.

In a Care Home

If you move into a care home, the NHS pays all your care home fees, including board and accommodation. 

What if I am not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare?

If you do not qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare then you may have to pay for some or all of your care, although the NHS will still provide care for your health needs free of charge.

If you are in a care home you may need to have a financial assessment to decide how much you should pay towards your personal care and accommodation.   If your placement in the care home does not include nursing care your nursing needs will be met by the community nurse. If your placement does include nursing care your care from registered nurses within the care home will be provided free of charge through NHS-funded Nursing Care. This money is paid directly to the care home by the NHS. 

Care and support planning

If you are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, the next stage is to arrange a care and support package which meets your assessed needs.

Depending on your situation, different options could be suitable. The continuing healthcare team should work collaboratively with you and consider your views when agreeing your care and support package and the where it will be provided, other factors such as cost and value for money of different options will be taken into account.


Your eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare will initially be reviewed after three months and then at least yearly. It is possible that your care needs may change and you will no longer be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare. This may mean that you have to start paying for some or all of your care.

Personal health budgets

If you are eligible for continuing healthcare, you will be offered a personal health budget. This will give you more control over how to spend the funding to best meet your needs and achieve your health goals. It is your choice whether you want a personal health budget. You will receive more information and details at this stage to help you make the decision.

If you are eligible for a personal health budget and choose this option, you will be helped to develop your healthcare support plan to be paid for by the budget allocated to you. This will allow you to control the nature and the timing of your care, and when you want it to start.

If you are not eligible for a personal health budget or choose not to have one, your healthcare needs will be managed on your behalf. The time this takes to implement can vary depending on the nature of the care, but you will be kept informed at all stages.


Useful contacts:

NHS Continuing Healthcare Team
Phone: 020 3668 1900