Funding announced to help patients return home from hospitals

Fresh funding has been announced to help people with additional care needs to return home after being in hospital.

The Government said that a total of £588 million will be made available in order to provide six weeks of funded care and support for patients discharged from hospital.

It is expected that the fund will help cover the costs of adult social care or for any immediate care that is required in people’s homes.

NHS trusts across England will be able to access the funding from September 1, with NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) assessments also due to restart next month.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has indicated that most people will be discharged back to their homes after leaving hospital.

However, it anticipates that a very small proportion will need short or long term residential, nursing home or hospice care.

It has restated that no-one should be discharged from hospital directly to a care home without the involvement of a local authority, and that all patients are required to be tested for Covid-19 prior to discharge to a care home.

No care home should be forced 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, the department has also said.

Health 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.”

Councillor Paulette Hamilton, vice chairwoman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, welcomed the funding.

She said: “We are pleased to see this further injection of funding to ensure that people can leave hospital as soon as is safe and return home wherever possible.

“We are also reassured by the commitment that no one will go into a care home without having been tested for the virus.

“Local government has asked for these commitments and will continue to play a key role in making them happen.”

New guidance has also been published to help hospitals safely discharge patients into the appropriate setting to “maximise their independence” and to help ensure they can remain in their own homes as much as possible.

A “comprehensive” care and health assessment for any ongoing care needs, including determining funding eligibility, is also due to take place within the first six weeks following discharge to make sure that individuals have the support they need.

The funding can also be used for urgent community response support to prevent someone being admitted to hospital.