From September 1, the NHS will be able to access a £588m fund to help cover adult social care provisions or the immediate costs of care in a patient’s home for those requiring additional follow-on care after being discharged from hospital – including older people and those with disabilities.
The health service will be able to access the funds in order to provide up to six weeks of additional support to ensure people receive ongoing help with their recovery and rehabilitation after they leave hospital.
This could include support in their home or access to services such as physiotherapy, domiciliary care, community nursing services or care home costs.
From September, NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) assessments are also set to restart, ensuring those with complex health needs can continue to access the care they need for free.
Most patients will continue to be discharged back to their homes. However, in a small proportion of cases, it is anticipated patients may need and benefit from short or long-term residential, nursing home or hospice care.
It will remain the case that nobody should be knowingly discharged from hospital directly to a care home without the involvement of the relevant local authority, and all patients are required to be tested prior to discharge to a care home – with no care home expected to admit an existing or new resident who has tested positive for coronavirus if the home would be unable to cope with the impact of their illness.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “We know for the majority of people the road to recovery can be quicker when they receive care and support in the comfort of their own home.
“This funding will help ensure people can be safely discharged from hospital knowing they will get the vital follow-on care they need to recover fully from treatment.
“We’re also making sure those with complex health needs continue to receive the best support possible in the community.”
The new funding comes as part of a wider £3bn package being provided to protect and prepare health and social care settings in the event of a second peak of coronavirus cases. It follows £1.3bn of funding made available via the NHS to support the discharge process in March.