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Free Care – How to Get It

Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is known as NHS continuing healthcare and can be provided in a variety of settings outside hospital, such as in your own home or in a care home.


Eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare depends on your assessed needs, and not on any particular diagnosis or condition. If your needs change then your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare may change.


You should be fully involved in the assessment process and kept informed and have your views about your needs and support taken into account. Carers and family members should also be consulted where appropriate.


A decision about eligibility for a full assessment for NHS continuing healthcare should usually be made within 28 days of an initial assessment or request for a full assessment.


If you are not eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, you can be referred to your local council who can discuss with you whether you may be eligible for support from them.


If you still have some health needs, then the NHS may pay for part of the package of support. This is sometimes known as a "joint package" of care.


The process involved in NHS continuing healthcare assessments can be complex. An organisation called Beacon gives free independent advice on NHS continuing healthcare.


Visit the Beacon website or call the free helpline on 0345 548 0300.

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