Intermediate care is not built through one-off schemes but through a radical change to the way health and social services operate, says a guide published today by The King's Fund.
Developing Intermediate Care: A guide for health and social care professionals, by Jan Stevenson and Linda Spencer, shows that intermediate care requires a transformation in the whole system of services provided to older people in a locality. Intermediate care, it says, should fit as an integral part of a wide range of health, social care and housing services, and not simply seen as more beds in a hospital or care home.
Intermediate care can be defined as a short-term intervention to preserve the independence of a person who might otherwise be forced to go into hospital or a nursing home. It is an active and intensive way of helping those who have suffered from illness or injury to get their lives back. It includes a wide range of activities, such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and practical support for everyday living.
Janice Robinson, The King's Fund senior adviser on social care, said:
'When intermediate care is done well, it can help the NHS and social services to stop wasting money on unnecessary hospital and nursing home admissions. It can give people more confidence in themselves and a better chance of living healthily for longer into old age.
'But intermediate care can be challenging to develop. It requires a high level of partnership working between local agencies as well as a commitment to involve users and their carers in designing new kinds of service. Our new guide should help those responsible for developing intermediate care to find ways of getting the job done effectively.'
Notes to editors:
The guide has been produced following the three-year The King's Fund Rehabilitation Programme, which worked with pilot sites across England to develop intermediate care for older people. It gives guidance to those responsible for developing intermediate care in their localities.
Developing Intermediate Care: A guide for health and social care professionals, by Jan Stevenson and Linda Spencer, is available from the King's Fund bookshop on 020 7307 2591, price £18.
For a review copy of the guide, or more information about The King's Fund work on intermediate care, please contact Daniel Reynolds on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927.