Getting the most out of your local GP surgery is very important as they are the gateway to all health services.
- Talk to your GP about your health issues or concerns as well as any medication or treatment you are having. While GPs are not responsible for Social Care, they can often give you good advice and can point you in the right direction.
- Keep up a good relationship with others in the GP surgery team as they can provide great help to you.
- If you need help with daily tasks at home, they will be able to give you a referral to an Occupational Therapist (OT). OTs are experienced professionals who can support you in finding the most appropriate equipment and can also advise you on how you might best adapt your home to be able to carry out everyday activities. See our article on ‘Equipment and Adaptations’.
NHS Continuing Healthcare
This is fully funded care, paid for by the NHS . Also known as ‘fully funded NHS care’, continuing healthcare is available over an extended period of time to meet an individual’s physical and mental health needs.
Individuals who are eligible for continuous care are likely to have complex, substantial and ongoing care needs. For example, people with a disability or a chronic illness may have greater care needs, therefore require continuous care to ensure these needs are met.
An individual’s eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare depends on their care needs rather than their particular diagnosis or condition. If a person’s care needs change, they may no longer be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.
How does it work?
To get continuing healthcare, a team of healthcare professionals must agree that the individual has a primary health need. This is decided by looking at:
- What help is needed
- How complex the persons needs are
- How intense or severe he persons needs can be
- How unpredictable he persons needs are. This includes any risks to the person’s health if the right care is not provided at the right time.
The checklist assessment can be completed by a nurse, doctor, other healthcare professional or social worker.
Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire Integrated Care Board (BOB) has developed a policy outlining how they arrange and pay for care for those who are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.
The policy ensures that care is arranged in a timely manner, reflects the choice and preferences of individuals, but balances these with our responsibility to commission care that is safe, effective and makes best use of available resources across the system.
After an initial assessment by a health or social worker, utilizing the NHS Continuing Healthcare ‘checklist’, they may undertake a ‘Full assessment’ which will involve them meeting with you and others that support you. This involves them filling in a complex form called the Decision Support Tool. Their assessment will consider your needs under the following headings:
- nutrition (food and drink)
- skin (including wounds and ulcers)
- psychological and emotional needs
- cognition (understanding)
- drug therapies and medication
- altered states of consciousness
- other significant care needs
This will then be reviewed by you local authority and you will be informed of their decision.
- If they say No, you can ask them to look at the information again
- If they say Yes, they will choose someone (often called a case manager or care manager) to work with you
- Sometimes, they will agree with Social services that they will jointly fund your care
There are different ways that you can have NHS Continuing Healthcare money but you may find it most suitable as a Personal Health Budget and to get it set up as a Direct payment so that you (or your advocate) can use that money to buy and manage your own care and support directly. You should be aware that NHS Continuing Healthcare money is for all your help and care not just health care. In most cases, you can elect to receive care services in your own home with a carer of your choice. NHS funding is not mean tested and there is no financial assessment, but you should be aware that your eligibility for funding will be reviewed annually (or more frequently in certain circumstances).
There is excellent support for Mental health and Dementia in the region that you can have access to.
- If you, or the person you care for, have concerns about your mental health your initial contact should be with your GP. They may decide what is best for you including referral to NHS Mental health services who will provide excellent assessment and treatment services. However, due to pressures on these services, there are currently long waiting times for treatment which is not deemed to be very urgent.
- Services for Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire are provided by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. In Berkshire, they are provided by the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Support includes both a community mental health team and a memory clinic. The Memory Clinic services are there to help people who are worried that their poor memory may be a sign of dementia. Waiting times for the Memory Clinic is around 8 weeks.
See our articles on ‘What financial help can I get for my Care and Support?’ and ‘Paying for your own care’
NHS Continuing Healthcare