Information on Convalescence, Rehabilitation
and Respite Care is detailed below. Please note that every
individual¡¦s situation is unique. For advice
tailored to your specific needs it is suggested you speak
to an Independent Care Adviser.
The term "Convalescent" is
defined as a person recovering from illness. In a climate
of long hospital waiting lists and delayed hospital discharges,
hospital stays for many people are frequently so short that
the recovery period has barely started before they return
home. Obviously, an acute hospital is not the ideal environment
to recover from an operation or illness, but the harsh reality
of returning home can be a very difficult time, particularly
for the older person.
Whilst most acute hospitals now have rehabilitation programmes,
called Intermediate Care or Re-Enablement, limited resources
means that some people will not meet the strict eligibility
criteria for these and therefore will not qualify. Clearly,
there is a difference between the older person in need of
active rehabilitation and the older person who simply needs
a little support whilst regaining his or her strength. Sadly,
this is an area of care that is not adequately addressed in
our current Health and Social Care system.
The main sources of support for the older person in these
circumstances are likely to be:
Family member in the older person's
A short stay at a family member's home
Visiting support from family, neighbours
Employment of carer/companion through
a Care Agency
Convalescent stay in a Care Home
Local voluntary organizations
Convalescent Homes are few and far between and the older person
may struggle to find a short-term vacancy in a Care Home of
their choice at the time when support is required. However,
there are a number of Convalescent Homes, Care Homes and Care
Homes with Nursing associated with particular professions
or charities that are more likely to be sympathetic to the
particular needs of their members. This level of short-term
care is not generally funded by either the NHS or the Local
Rehabilitation is about restoring an
individual to fullest capacity; physically, mentally and socially.
It requires a team of people working together with the individual
and his or her family. This team may include Nurses, Physiotherapists,
Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists. Their combined
expertise should promote recovery and maximise independence.
Depending on the nature of the older
person¡¦s condition, within the NHS they may
be offered "Intermediate Care"or "Re Enablement"
on discharge from hospital. This is a short rehabilitation
programme usually lasting for no more than six weeks. Hospital
staff will decide whether the individual is suitable for a
programme such as this. It will usually involve members of
a multi-disciplinary team (MDT), such as an Occupational Therapist
and /or a Physiotherapist, planning or supervising appropriate
care, most commonly in the older person's home, a Community
Hospital or a Care Home. If, at the end of this six-week period
the older person is assessed as requiring ongoing care, they
may be referred to Social Services, depending on their own
wishes and financial status. However, care from this point
will be subject to a Local Authority means test.
If the older person's condition requires specific ongoing
therapeutic treatment, such as, speech therapy or physiotherapy,
for example, following a stroke, this may continue on an outpatient
basis for longer periods.
This level of care is generally free of charge to the older
Respite Care is defined as "temporary
relief". It may be provided for the older person or their
carer and may take the following forms:
A short break away for the older person
Increased support in the home to allow the
carer to pursue their own interests.
A short stay for the older person in a Care
Home to enable the carer to take a longer break.
It may be for as little as an hour per
week, or for a day, a week or two depending upon individual
There are a number of organisations that offer
help and support in this way, e.g. care agencies, charitable
and voluntary organisations.
If the older person has funds in excess of
£23,250 in England and Northern Ireland, £24,000
in Wales and £26,250 in Scotland, they will not be entitled
to assistance with funding from the Local Authority for this
Carers can also ask for an assessment of their
own needs and are advised to contact their local Adult Social
Services Department to request this.