When they get older logo

The 10 biggest myths about NHS Continuing Healthcare funding

Angela Sherman, Director of Care To Be Different an online information resource about NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, debunks common mistruths about NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.

Are you sorting out full time care for an older relative? Be aware that you may be given incorrect information about care fees and NHS. When it comes to NHS Continuing Healthcare, it’s likely you’ll be told one of the 10 biggest myths about NHS care funding and your relative may lose out as a result.

What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?

This is NHS funding for full-time care. It’s available to people with health needs who meet certain criteria for nursing care and it covers 100% of care costs, including 100% of the costs of being in a care home.

Information about NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, even when provided by the health and social care authorities, can be misleading and sometimes just plain wrong. Misinformation could lead to your relative paying tens of thousands of pounds for their care when the NHS may actually have a duty to cover the cost instead.

Your parent may also have been given advice about care fees by a legal or financial professional but be aware that they might not necessarily understand why NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is the very first thing that should be mentioned to someone who needs full time care.

The following tips will help you and your parent understand what’s right and what’s not when it comes to NHS Continuing Healthcare funding:

1. “If you have savings over £23,250 or a house, you have to pay for care.”


Mistakes about paying for care are made right at the start. People are frequently told that if they have a certain level of savings and assets, then they have to pay for their own care regardless. This is not true. What should happen right at the start is an assessment of their health and care needs, not their money.

It’s only if they are not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding that their money should even been discussed. However this almost always happens the wrong way round with people being asked about their money from the outset.

2. “If you have dementia you’re not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare.”


Sadly many families are told this by NHS, local authority assessors and others. It’s crystal clear from all the guidelines about Continuing Healthcare that the funding has nothing whatsoever to do with any specific diagnoses. Instead it’s to do with day-to-day health and care needs regardless of diagnosis and regardless of whether or not a person has dementia.

3. “You always have to sell your home.”


Almost always a person needing full time care will be asked “Do you have a house?” However the first question should be “What are your health needs and your nursing needs?”

Your parent should only have to sell their home if they’re not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, if their care needs are definitely social care needs and not nursing needs, if they have no other savings and if they actually choose to sell it. You and your parent may be able to negotiate a Deferred Payment Arrangement with the local authority.

4. “There’s no point having an assessment because you won’t qualify.”


No one can say whether or not a person will be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare until the proper assessment process has been followed. Many people are simply told they ‘don’t qualify’ and yet their needs will either not have been assessed at all or will have been assessed without due regard to the Continuing Healthcare guidelines.

5. “All care is means tested, regardless of what kind of care you need.”


The key thing to remember here is that care is not just care. There is social care and there is healthcare/nursing care. Generally speaking healthcare and nursing care are provided by the NHS and are free (the NHS should never means test). Social care, on the other hand, is provided by the local authority and is means tested. Before any person is means tested they should first be considered for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.

6. “To receive NHS Continuing Healthcare funding you have to be on a ventilator or unable to swallow.”


This is completely wrong and yet people are often told this. See myth no. 2.

7. “You have to be in a care home to receive NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.”


Continuing Healthcare funding is available to people in their own homes and there is no limit on the number of hours of care that it covers.

8. “It’s not worth applying for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding because it only covers high level and specialist nursing needs.”


Continuing Healthcare eligibility depends on your parent’s day-to-day health and care needs and they can be in an ordinary residential care home and still receive NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.

9. “Family members are not allowed to attend Continuing Healthcare assessments.”


It is vital that family members are involved in assessments which is something that is reinforced in the Continuing Healthcare National Framework guidelines.

10. “If you have a spouse, you won’t be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare because your spouse can pay for your care.”


No one should be asked to pay for anyone else’s care nor should anyone be asked to move out of or sell their home to pay for someone else’s care.

There are many additional myths in circulation about NHS Continuing Healthcare funding. If you’re arranging care for a relative or if they’ve been in care for some time already be sure the information you’re given about care fees and care funding is correct.

Latest advice

Stop press: From June 2019 you can download our up-to-date guide to working your way through the complex process of claiming NHS Continuing Healthcare funding. Find it on our downloads page.


If you found this article useful, why not sign up to our regular newsletter for latest news?

Share this article:
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shirley Fell
Shirley Fell
2 years ago

My husband has had dementia for 14yrs. He has spent the last 10 months in an NHS dementia ward where he was badly neglected ie failed to provide even basic care – food water warmth care. He was allowed to walk the corridors in just incontinence pants & overmedicated to make life easier for staff. He was originally on a section 2 then 3. I recently got him moved to a nursing home (5 wks ago) it today he has had a special assessment & they. now claim he no longer qualifies for 117 fu being! I had to go… Read more »

John Eric Hughes
John Eric Hughes
2 years ago

The Government’s policy is that the NHS Continuing Health Care, is a system designed for the patient to fail. It only has one Government objective, to obtained your families life savings and home, or property as they the Social Services call it, in order to pay for underfunded services. We applied for this Continuing Health Care and was refused, our mother had MAJOR medical conditions, but that really just does not matter. We was told, to hand over, all our mothers savings accounts and if we made any attempt to access them, legal action would be taken against us. Social… Read more »

1 year ago

I am on NHS continuing care are my parents allowed to leave me some inheritance

D cardill
D cardill
8 months ago

My mum was having her care paid for by NHS funding she has dementia she is bed ridden, can not communicate, eat drink has to be fed , cannot take her own meds, inconstant, can not walk do anything fir her self. They now say she dose not quality for it. How as she is no different from when she first got it. They only thing the took the end of life meds out of the drugs trolly they had for her incase they needed them.

Mike Carlile
Mike Carlile
7 months ago

My father feb 2020 was given approx 5 months to live has. level 5 kidney disease CKD.
He has savings over £23 k then not now and property over £23k
We are currently pay for care as we were led to believe he had no medical reason for Care – just taking medicines .As time has developed the money kilos running out .How do you start the process nd can it be restrospective?

Jean Ward
Jean Ward
6 months ago

My mother has been in a care home for 8 years with continuing care by NHS. Sadly the home is closing and she has to be moved into new home. The CCG are saying they cannit cover all home fees under their budget. Therefore we will have to pay shortfall even though homes we have chosen are on same level as mum is in ay the moment.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x