Sometimes people need a bit of extra care on a temporary basis without having to commit to a permanent move into a care home. This could be because you have spent time in hospital and are unable to go straight home. Or it might be that your usual carers cannot look after you at that point, for whatever reason, or you simply want a break from looking after yourself at home! At our home we keep rooms available specifically for people needing short-term care quickly.

Recovery time

If you have been in hospital because of an injury or illness and still have complex needs – you are recovering from a stroke, heart attack or surgery or have lost a leg or arm, for example – the hospital may recommend that you spend some time in a care home until you are fully recovered. This is also known as convalescence.

At our home you will receive round-the-clock care by trained and experienced staff who will take care of all your personal needs, including help with washing/bathing, dressing and going to the toilet, administering medication and providing any other care you might need.

Tasty and nutritious meals will be cooked and served to you – in bed if you prefer – and you will also meet other residents and, if you wish, participate in activities. Although all the worry of living and coping on your own will be removed, you can still choose how you want to live your life while in the home and be as independent as possible.

Taking a break

You may also need short-term care (often also known as respite care) for the following reasons:

  • To cover for your carers – if you are usually cared for in your own home by family or professional carers, there may be times when they can’t look after you, when they go on holiday, for example.
  • A rest for you if you live alone – living independently at home for as long as possible is important to many people. Sometimes, though, it can all get a bit much and you need a break to be looked after (and even pampered) while someone else takes care of the cooking, shopping and cleaning!
  • Preparation for moving into full-time care – maybe you are already considering a permanent move into residential or nursing care. If that’s the case, a short stay can be the perfect stepping-stone. Experiencing life in a care home for a few weeks or months, trying out all the activities and facilities, can help you to decide whether full-time care (and a particular home) is right for you over the longer term.

There are many benefits of short-term care in our home:

  • Expert round-the-clock care from highly experienced and compassionate staff
  • A chance to meet and socialise with new people
  • An excellent choice of tasty and nutritious food that accommodates any dietary preferences or requirements including the need for a puréed diet, for example
  • A rest from laundry, cleaning and all the other responsibilities of your own home
  • The opportunity to try out new activities if you’re feeling up to it

Sometimes, even after three months of the best recovery care, you may still not be well enough to go home and/or feel that you can no longer live independently. You are enjoying the peace of mind of knowing that you are well looked after, or you have made new friends and are relishing your new-found social life at the home. This is by no means unusual – in fact we often find that residents who come for short-term care end up staying with us!

If you decide that you wish to stay, you or your family will need to speak to our home manager about getting assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare or Funded Nursing Care and transferring to the home on a permanent basis.

Assessing your needs

Unless you already have a care plan you will need a care needs assessment from the local authority to identify what type of help and support would best suit you. This applies whether or not you have been in hospital.

If you are shortly to be discharged from hospital and need a period of recovery in residential care your hospital team will contact social services or the local authority to arrange an assessment to identify what type of help, support and treatment you need. You, and probably your family, will be involved in this process and will agree a care plan together. This will detail any further medical treatment you might need and who will be responsible for it. Hospital staff should make sure that you have your care plan and any medicine you need with you when you are discharged into the home.

Before you come to live at our home we will do our own assessment to help us to understand all your nursing and personal care needs and ensure that we can look after you safely. This is called a pre-admission assessment and is carried out by our home manager or senior member of the team, either by telephone or in person at the hospital with yourself or someone who knows your care needs well. We use this information to create a care plan that is tailored to your individual requirements. We will develop this with you, and by talking to your family, so that we can get to know you as much as possible before you move in.

Financing your care

You will also have to undergo a financial assessment to determine who pays for care. How local authorities assess you for short-term (up to 52 weeks) funding is similar to the way that they assess you for permanent care home stays. This is means tested and it is possible that you may have to pay for your own care by using your savings, income from pensions, work or investments.

Attendance Allowance

If you have to pay for your own short-term care you might be eligible for Attendance Allowance, a payment that is available to people over 65 who need help because of illness or disability. You can find out more about Attendance Allowance on the Government’s website.