Intermediate Care (IC) is a form of short-term, non-means-tested support that is offered to those who have the potential to improve and live more independently with specialist support. It's important to know that IC is a form of active rehabilitation, not a period of free care.

Typically, IC lasts no longer than 6 weeks, but it can be as little as one or two weeks if the staff believe that's what you need to achieve your goals.

When the care staff determines that you have the ability to participate in intermediate care and have the potential to live more independently, they will conduct a comprehensive assessment, collaborate with you to establish personal objectives and create a tailored care plan.

Read more on the types of Intermediate Care Services and Support and find out which one suits your situation better.


Situations When you Should Consider Intermediate Care

Intermediate care can be an effective and relatively easy solution to manage wellbeing for you or your loved ones. Here are 4 situations  when you should consider intermediate care.

To support timely discharge from Hospital

If you're on the road to recovery but need a little extra support, intermediate care services help. When care staff members find you have the potential for further improvement and independence but no longer need hospitalisation, they can refer you for intermediate care. Together, you can establish your goals and decide on the appropriate course of action.

care staff members caring for loves ones

Depending on your unique situation, reablement care, home-based, or bed-based intermediate care may be suitable. Bed-based IC, for instance, is often a good option if you're ready to leave the hospital but not quite ready to return home. With the help of skilled care professionals, you can work towards achieving your goals and regaining your independence.

Looking for a simple and safe alternative to hospital admissions

In the event that you fall ill or suffer a minor injury at home, intermediate care may be a good option available to you. To respond to such crisis situations, the service relies on teams of specialised staff, such as nurses, occupational therapists, and other experts, who can quickly assess your situation and determine whether your needs can be met safely outside of a hospital setting.

The team can provide short-term support at home, typically for up to 48 hours but sometimes for up to 72 hours, or, if more appropriate, arrange for a brief stay in a care home. During this time, health and social care staff will monitor your recovery and determine what further support you may need, which could include a referral to another type of intermediate care.

While such crisis response type of intermediate care is not available in all areas, if you become ill at home and receive medical attention from a doctor or other healthcare provider, they may be able to access and refer you to this service if they believe hospitalisation is unnecessary. Additionally, if you receive care at an emergency department, the staff there may have access to a crisis response team.

Finding it difficult to live alone

As a person already receiving home care, you may be eligible for intermediate care as part of a routine review or reassessment of your care plan. This can be a valuable option if you are experiencing difficulties at home or recovering from an illness that did not require hospitalisation. In such situations, intermediate care is typically offered in conjunction with means-tested home care services.

Facing a likely move to Residential Care

When a permanent move to residential care seems likely for patients on acute hospital wards, healthcare professionals must consider referring them to the Intermediate Care team. If this is deemed appropriate, patients can be discharged to a more suitable location to receive it. For such individuals, intermediate care can help build capabilities that are needed to stay at their own home safely. This can avoid a premature move to residential care.  Later, a long-term needs assessment can be conducted to determine the patient's abilities and if a care home placement is the most suitable option for them. This can provide a more accurate picture of the care the patient needs.

In most cases, it is not advised for patients to transition directly from an acute hospital to a permanent residence in a care home. However, there may be exceptional circumstances that warrant such a move. These may include 

  • Needing a specialised rehabilitation, such as on a stroke unit, and agreeing on a rehabilitation plan, 
  • Exhausting all attempts to support the patient at home with or without an intermediate care package
  • Determining that a short period of intermediate care in a residential setting followed by another move may cause undue distress. 

It is important to consider each patient's unique circumstances and needs to make the best decision for their care and well-being.

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