More than half a billion pounds is being provided by the government to support people needing follow-on care in their own homes after being discharged from hospital.
From September 1, the NHS will access £588 million in funding to provide up to six weeks of additional support so people, including older people and those with disabilities, can receive ongoing help with their recovery and rehabilitation.
The funding is expected to pay for domiciliary care, community nursing or access to services such as physiotherapy.
Most people will be discharged back to their homes, the government said. However, it anticipates that a “very small proportion” will need, and benefit from, short or long-term residential, nursing home or hospice care.
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 government said NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) assessments will restart from September, ensuring those with complex health needs can continue to access the care they need for free.
The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) has welcomed the news of funding to support people’s recovery at home, as well as the emphasis on meeting people’s care needs in the community where possible.
Dr Jane Townson, CEO of UKHCA, added: “We are keen to work with the NHS and local authorities to ensure that the focus is on improving outcomes for people, rather than on time and task.
“We are also determined to ensure that homecare and support is purchased by commissioners in a way that allows fair recognition and reward of the workforce, as well as quality and sustainability of services.”
New guidance has been published to help hospitals safely discharge patients into the appropriate setting to maximise their independence and ensure they can remain in their own homes as much as possible.
A care and health assessment for any ongoing care needs, including determining funding eligibility, will take place within the first six weeks following discharge to make sure individuals have the support they need.
The funding can also be used for urgent community response support to prevent someone being admitted to hospital.
The news comes after a recent CQC report found that a third of patients classed as ‘frail’ are not receiving the support they need to access care at home.
The survey, conducted on over 75,000 inpatients across 143 NHS Trusts, found that while most respondents were happy with the care they received in hospital, discharge delays and access to support once home remain a concern.