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. However, it is not an entitlement to free care following a hospital stay. 

Intermediate Care can be considered 

  • to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions safely
  • to provide active rehabilitation to help individuals live independently as possible after illness, disability or a hospital stay
  • to prevent a premature, permanent move into residential care due to illness, injury or frailty


Types of Intermediate care and Support

There are 4 broad categories of intermediate care services however the names may differ depending on on the local services across the country.


Reablement care service is designed to provide personalised support right in the comfort of your own home. The aim of reablement is to improve your confidence and ability to live independently. Whether it's getting dressed, preparing a meal or moving around your home safely, the goal is to empower you to take charge of your life. Encouraging individuals to participate in social activities are also a key aspect of reablement, helping them to stay engaged with your community and lead a fulfilling life.


Reablement care service


After creating a tailored care plan to achieve your personal goals, the support care staff, who are specially trained, will visit you frequently, often on a daily basis. They will mainly observe, guide, and encourage you to perform tasks independently, with the aim of rebuilding your confidence and skills that may have been lost or diminished due to illness, old age or injury.

Home-based intermediate care

It is a type of care that offers support within your own home or within a care home, should that be your typical place of residence. This type of care is provided through collaboration with a team of multidisciplinary health professionals, including social workers, who work together with you to define the goals that you would like to achieve and the type of support that you require to achieve them.

This type of care is mainly provided by health professionals, such as nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. Physiotherapists can design customised exercises to help you gain strength and move safely for instance, as well as provide mobility aids. Occupational therapists can assist you in finding ways to perform daily tasks more safely and efficiently.

Bed-based intermediate care 

It offers temporary accommodation in a care home, community hospital, or standalone intermediate care facility. During your stay, you'll receive support similar to home-based intermediate care, which is tailored to help you achieve your specific goals. The aim is to help you become as independent as possible, so you can return home as soon as it is safe and practical to do so. Ideally, bed-based IC should start within two days of referral, as this can improve the chances of success and minimise the length of your stay. The care team will work closely with you and your loved ones to develop a personalised care plan that addresses your unique needs and circumstances.

Crisis Response 

This type of care is typically considered during emergency situations and involves a thorough assessment either at your home or at the emergency department. The healthcare providers may decide if your needs can be safely addressed by providing you with short-term care in your own home or if it would be more appropriate to arrange a brief stay in a care facility. This approach helps avoid an unnecessary hospital admission, and instead, allows you to recover in a comfortable and familiar setting. If it's determined that another type of intermediate care would be more beneficial, the staff will work with you to make the necessary arrangements.

Read more - 5 Situations When you should consider intermediate care for you or your loved ones


Accessing Intermediate care

If you think you or your relative may benefit from intermediate care, then you should speak to the person responsible for your (or their) care.

You should consider talking to 

  • General Practitioner (GP)
  • A community or social care worker
  • Staff at the emergency department
  • Hospital’s discharge team

They should help you with the intermediate care services.

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