Continuing care for children and young people

NHS Continuing Care (CC) is support provided for children and young people under 18 who need a tailored package of care because of their disability, an accident or illness.

The process follows the National Framework for Children and Young People's Continuing Care (Department Health, 2010). The framework describes the process, led by CCGs, that organisations should go through in assessing needs and putting in place bespoke packages of continuing care for those children and young people who require it because their needs cannot be met by existing universal or specialist service.

It is different from NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC), which can be provided to adults who have very severe or complex health needs. The main difference is that while continuing healthcare for adults focuses mainly on health and care needs, continuing care for a child or young person should also consider their physical, emotional and intellectual development as they move towards adulthood. The framework offers guidance about transitional planning and arrangements for young people as they move into adulthood and adult services.

This means that if your child is assessed for NHS continuing care, it's likely that a range of official organisations will be involved, such as health, education and local authority children's services. These different agencies will also contribute to your child's care package if they are found to have continuing care needs. The process of arranging NHS continuing care is governed by your Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). In Derbyshire we commission the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU) to complete the assessments and put forward recommendations for the care packages for children and adults to the CCG for authorisation. The children's continuing care nurse assessor works alongside the professionals from other agencies that are involved in supporting your child. Their professional reports and assessments are used to complete this continuing care assessment of need and the care package recommendations.

The guidance recommends that, wherever possible, continuing care for a child or young person should be provided in their own home. It can also take place in a residential school, residential placement or hospice. During the process the views and wishes of the child or young person and their family are taken into consideration.

If you think your child or young person should be assessed for NHS continuing care

Talk to a health or social care professional who works with them about this and the process for referring them. It is usual for this to be discussed at a team around the child (TAC) or a team around the family (TAF) meeting and one of the actions will be to make a referral.