CHC or the Continuous Healthcare scheme is a little know and unpublicised system for providing full or partial funding for people who require nursing care outside hospital premises. From time to time the newspapers publish a story about how someone has successfully obtained funding, but CHC is an essential “need to know about” for anyone who may have responsibility for a relative who for health reasons requires residential or nursing care.
CHC transfers financial responsibility for care from cash-strapped local authorities to the NHS. Any funding is provided without means testing. This means that for qualifying persons, the means testing limit of £23,350 no longer applies. Funding is available for care at home as well as in a residential facility. Moreover, in certain circumstances funding can be paid retrospectively – one claimant recently received over £90,000 funding for costs already incurred.
The cloud in this silver lining is that the assessment process is a minefield, and the application procedures long winded and convoluted. To quote the Sunday Times:
“The K’s story exposes the mind-boggling complexity of the assessment process that must be endured to receive a penny under CHC. The funding is not automatic if you are diagnosed with a particular condition such as Alzheimer’s: some get it, others don’t. Even some professionals seem not to understand the system.”
It is possible for a determined individual to negotiate funding under this scheme. However, the process can take up a lot of time and energy, particularly as the authorities seem to be reluctant to provide patients with this valuable financial support. No doubt the continuing downwards pressure on public expenditure is the main reason for this.
You can save yourself an enormous amount of stress and hassle by employing professional assistance to negotiate funding. This is not a free service, and charges vary depending on the firm selected. However, in the long run it can be more cost effective to use a professional, and certainly a lot quicker.
Farley Dwek Solicitors for instance take on cases on a no-win no-fee basis, and at the time of writing charges are based on a percentage of savings achieved over the first twelve months. You can download a comprehensive free guide from their website.
Other service providers including Compass Continuing Healthcare (https://www.continuing-healthcare.co.uk/) work on a flat fee basis.
Most service providers carry out an initial free assessment before any commitment, and employer specialist nursing staff to review and undertake claims.
We do not want to make any recommendations about any particular service provider or whether you should take on the task independently. However,you can find a useful checklist about choosing a CHC advisor, or to help you decide whether you need one at all, at care to be different. This site also carries a lot of extremely useful information about continuing healthcare in general based on the founder’s own experience.