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eleafletWhat kind of help is available?

You may be able to get help with everyday tasks. And the NHS can help if you have healthcare needs.

What kind of help is available?

Your local council may be able to arrange help for you with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, getting meals, doing the laundry, or even making your home easier to live in. And if you have healthcare needs, the NHS can help in all sorts of ways, including visits from a district nurse, medical equipment, and advice.

If you provide a lot of care for someone and are not paid for it, you may be entitled to help and support too - see Can I get help if I look after someone?


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What help can I get with everyday tasks at home?

If you are older, ill or disabled, your local council's social services department can provide you with help and support, known as 'community care' or 'social care'.

Community care can include, for example:

  • help with personal care: tasks such as getting up and dressed, bathing and laundry
  • meals on wheels
  • help with shopping
  • aids and adaptations to your home to make basic tasks easier and safer
  • a community alarm, so you can call for help if you need it
  • a place at a day centre, or
  • a place in a care home. There is more information on moving into residential care here.

You may also be entitled to other care and support, such as help with housing or transport.

To find out what help is available in your area, contact your local council's social services department for an assessment of your needs.

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What if I have health problems?

Healthcare is the responsibility of your local primary care trust (in England) or your local health board (in Wales). These bodies are part of the NHS.

Healthcare includes:

  • medical care from your GP
  • visits from other community health providers, such as a district nurse
  • services such as continence advice and equipment, chiropody, occupational therapy or physiotherapy, and
  • medical equipment, such as wheelchairs.

If you have health problems, contact your GP. They can get in touch with other people who provide NHS healthcare and who can meet your particular needs, such as a health visitor or physiotherapist.

If you have ongoing health problems because of a disability, an accident or illness, then you may need 'continuing care', which can be a package combining healthcare and community care.

If you need continuing care mainly because of your ongoing health problems, your local primary care trust (in England) or local health board (in Wales) should arrange for an assessment to see if you are eligible for 'NHS continuing healthcare'. This is a package of care in the community which is arranged and paid for by the NHS.

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What if I only need help for a short time?

If you need help only temporarily - for example, if you are recovering after an accident or short illness or a stay in hospital - then you may be eligible for 'intermediate care'.

Intermediate care can be a package of health and community care.  It is normally provided for up to six weeks, so that you don't have to go into hospital, or to stay there, when you don't really need to.

You can receive intermediate care at home. Or you can go to a care home while you get well enough to go home.

You do not pay for intermediate care. Find out more about this here.

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