Convalescence, Rehabilitation and Respite Care
/ choosing a care home
Also: Choosing Care / Care Assessment
/ Care at Home / Assistive
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
Whilst most acute hospitals now have rehabilitation programmes
(intermediate care), limited resources frequently means that many
will not pass strict eligibility criteria for these. 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 circumstance
are likely to be:
- Family member in the older person’s home
- A short stay at a family member’s home
- Visiting support from family, neighbours and friends
- Employment of carer/companion through a Care Agency
- Convalescent stay in a Care Home
- Local voluntary organistaions
Convalescent Homes are few and far between and the older person
may struggle to find a short term vacancy in a Care Home at the
time when support is required.
However, there are a number of Convalscent Homes, Care
Homes and Care Homes with
Nursing associated with particular professions or charities
who are more likely to be sympathetic to the particular needs of
This level of short-term care is not generally funded by either
the health authority or the local authority.
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”
on discharge from hospital. This is a short rehabilitation programme
usually lasting for no more than six weeks. Suitability for this
programme will have been measured against eligibilty criteria. It
will usually involve members of the multi-disciplinary team planning
or supervising appropriate care, most commonly in the older person’s
home or a Community Hospital. 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.
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 person.
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 from daily routine for the older person (holiday).
- Increased support in the home to allow the carer to pursue their
- A short stay in a Care
Home to enable the carer to take a longer break.
It may be for as little as an hour per week, for a day, or a week
or two depending on individual circumstances.
There are a number of organistions who offer help and support in
If the older person has funds in excess of £23,250
in England (£25,250 in Scotland, £23,750 in Wales and
£23,250 in Northern Ireland).
However, under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995,
a carer who provides “regular and substantial care” for a relative, partner, friend or neighbour has a legal right to
their own separate assessment by social services. If the carer is
assessed as needing respite care this can be arranged by them but
may still be subject to charging, dependent on the financial status
of the older person, not the carer.
If you require further assistance or would like to speak to the
Independent Care Adviser this site recommends please call 0800
137 669 or complete the e-mail enquiry