The first step: a referral to Continuing Healthcare
A referral is usually made by an agency such as adult social care, or by another professional working with you such as a nurse. Referrals are made when a professional thinks you might benefit from continuing healthcare. If a professional thinks that you may have a ‘primary health need’, they must make a referral.
Being referred doesn’t mean you are eligible for continuing healthcare. A referral starts the process of finding out whether you are eligible.
A referral is usually made with a continuing healthcare checklist. Read more about the Continuing healthcare screening checklist.
Will I be asked to consent, before a referral is made for me?
If any agency or professional refers you, they should discuss with you what a referral means and what the next steps in the process might look like. A referral is usually made with your consent. If the agency or professional thinks you lack the mental capacity to make a decision about whether to consent to a referral, the referral can be made in your best interests. Read more about your consent and mental capacity.
A referral will include information about you and what your needs might be. This information will be shared with the local Continuing Healthcare Team. If you don’t want your information to be shared, please tell the agency or professional planning to make the referral.
To ask any questions about continuing healthcare, please contact the Continuing Healthcare Team on:
Telephone: 0300 330 2990
What happens while the referral is being made?
The decision to make a referral is not a decision about your eligibility for continuing healthcare but the first step in the process. If you are already getting social care and support, this will stay in place until the continuing healthcare process is complete.
Your consent and the Mental Capacity Act (2005)
What am I consenting to?
Giving your consent means giving permission for professionals involved in helping you to share information about you. Information is shared so that professionals can get in touch with you to talk about and involve you in the continuing healthcare process, and to help them make decisions.
You will be asked to consent to the referral, to the checklist, and to the full assessment. Your consent should be freely given and informed. You can withdraw your consent at any time (in other words, you can change your mind about it). If you are worried about or unsure what you are consenting to, please let the professionals working with you know straight away.
What happens if I don’t consent?
If you don’t want to give your consent, or you give it but then change your mind, this may affect how the continuing healthcare process is completed. The outcome or result of a checklist or full assessment may not be accurate if professionals can’t share or access all the information they need. This can affect how your eligibility for help is decided, or the way your care is managed in future.
What happens if I can’t decide to consent?
If professionals working with you are concerned that you might not be able to decide whether to give your consent or not, they will follow the rules set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). This means that professionals will assess whether you can understand, retain, and use and weigh the information that you need to make the decision. They will also assess whether you can communicate your decision.
If you can’t do one or more of these things, you will not be able to decide to give consent. If you can’t give consent, professionals will want to know whether anyone else has authority to give consent for you, such as an attorney or deputy appointed to make decisions about your health and welfare. Professionals will ask to see evidence confirming the appointment of an attorney or deputy (the attorney document or court order), so that they can check their appointment applies to the decision that needs to be made.
If you can’t consent yourself, and there is no one else appointed to give consent for you, professionals will decide for you, in your best interests.
More information on the Mental Capacity Act, Lasting Powers of Attorney or Deputyship can be found here.
Page last updated: 06 Oct 2023