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For most people, recovering from an illness is simply a case of allowing it to run its course. Unfortunately, some people will be left temporarily unable to care for themselves.
This is where convalescent care comes in - a type of short-term support provided by skilled professionals to those recovering from illnesses, operations and injuries. In essence, convalescent care homes help people get back on their feet, without having to stay in a hospital.
We’ve explained exactly what convalescent care is, along with where it can be provided, how long it can last, how much it costs and how to find convalescent care near you.
Browse the best convalescent care homes.
Convalescent care is a temporary and often short-term form of care that provides extra support if you’re recovering from an operation or illness.
People will stay in a convalescent care home when they require routine support from care staff, doctors and nurses, but aren’t unwell enough to need a hospital. These types of homes are sometimes referred to as inpatient rehabilitation facilities.
Convalescent homes are far more common than they used to be, with modern versions often integrated within nursing homes. Like nursing homes, convalescent homes are staffed by trained medical workers.
Much like a residential care home, convalescent homes will also offer assistance with certain day-to-day tasks like laundry and cleaning. These sorts of domestic tasks require strength and steadiness. When removed of these responsibilities, residents can instead focus on their recuperation.
People who are able to recover from whatever caused them to need additional support in the first place are well suited to convalescent care.
Put simply, convalescent care is aimed at people who need temporary, short-term care so they can return to full health and no longer regularly need this care.
The following are other examples of why somebody might need convalescent care:
Hospital discharge after a fall or similar accident (this may fall within one of the Discharge to Assess pathways)
A comprehensive plan of care and recovery is tailor-made for each resident. While every home is different, most will offer the following types of therapy:
Psychologists will help you develop motivational skills, positive attitudes and coping skills to improve mental wellbeing.
Physiotherapists devise exercise plans and activities to help you regain strength, coordination and motor skills.
Speech therapists use exercises and routines to help you regain useful communication skills.
If you have physical, sensory or motor function problems, an occupational therapist can help you maintain and develop functional skills for day-to-day living.
Convalescent care homes can also provide their residents support with:
Meals and meal preparation
Other forms of personal care like bathing and dressing
And much, much more
Convalescent care is predominantly provided in two different locations; within your own home or through a care home.
There are pros and cons to each of these options. Remaining within familiar surroundings has obvious benefits for mental health, while a convalescent home providing this type of specialist care will often be better equipped to support your loved one’s needs.
Below, we’ve discussed both of these in more detail.
Some facilities offer convalescent care to those who would rather undergo this short-term treatment in their own home. Recovery is all about comfort and feeling relaxed - with little feeling more comfortable and relaxing than where you live.
Here, a skilled carer would visit your home once or twice a day. During these visits, they’ll administer any therapy and treatment while assisting you around the house. This home care will be provided until you feel well enough to cope without support.
Some care providers will even be able to provide live-in convalescent care if necessary. Live-in convalescent care allows people to return to their own home following a hospital stay.
When short-term convalescent care is provided in a care home or nursing home, 24/7 support can be provided where necessary. The benefit of having your rehabilitation in this setting is that nursing care is given in a safe and supportive environment by skilled and fully trained members of staff.
Generally, convalescent care is seen as better aiding recovery from an illness or operation when done in a care home. This is because any required equipment is readily available and experienced staff members will always be on hand.
How long you’ll stay in a convalescent home is entirely dependent on the severity of your illness or injury. Comfort is a huge priority within convalescent care, so you’re unlikely to come across any rushed treatment plans.
Residents will often remain within short-term convalescent care for just a few days or weeks - a short-term support option - or several months. Either way, you or your loved one will be given the peace of mind that any personal care needs are being taken care of while on the road to recovery.
The end goal is that the recipient will fully recover and eventually be able to live independently again. So, if a person is living with a condition that isn’t going to improve after the period of support then this may not be the right type of care for them.
It’s easy to get convalescent homes and nursing care homes mixed up, especially when considering that many nursing homes now offer this type of post-operative care. Though people often refer to these two care types interchangeably, their facilities and exactly what they offer are quite different.
Nursing homes are typically geared toward offering long-term care, whereas convalescent care is designed for short-term rehabilitation.
Nursing home residents are often unable to live independently, so they require more support throughout the day, including assistance with daily care tasks like bathing, eating, getting in and out of bed, getting dressed and so on. On the other hand, residents requiring convalescent care services are only there to recover from surgery or an illness.
As a result, the care needs of a convalescent resident are usually much less. Once the stay is over, you or your loved one will return home and re-commence living independently.
The third way that convalescent homes differ from nursing homes is the residents' schedules. Because convalescent care is a form of short-term support, any facilities and services offered are temporary, with yourself or your loved one spending large chunks of their day in therapy.
In nursing homes however, anybody living there is a permanent resident. As such, their time will be spent maintaining a good level of health, rather than actively working towards recovery and independence in care.
Generally, your local authority will recommend a convalescent home that falls within your personal budget. However, if you’d prefer to enter a more expensive home, these additional fees could be paid by yourself, a family member or a friend through a top up fee.
If this care has been organised by a local authority as part of a short-term rehabilitation package, the first six weeks of convalescent care should be free. This is known as intermediate care. This will either be entirely funded by the local authority or part-funded by the local authority and the NHS.
Taking a financial assessment may open up some additional avenues when it comes to getting help from your local authority with care home funding.
Similarly, the cost of receiving convalescent care in your own home will vary, depending on the care provider and the level of support you need. You’ll most likely pay for care support on an hourly basis, so it’s important to consider the best option for your support needs and budget.
Postoperative care is received after a surgical procedure. Generally speaking, the type of postoperative care you require will depend on the type of surgery you've had, along with your history of health.
Postoperative care begins immediately after surgery and lasts for the duration of a hospital stay. Depending on circumstances, postoperative care can also be largely carried at home.
Postoperative care is similar to convalescent care, but differs as it involves slightly more care. A common example of postoperative care is after a major surgical procedure like a hip replacement operation.
You can find convalescent facilities in a large number of nursing homes and inpatient rehabilitation units throughout the UK. You can use our nursing home directory to find a home offering convalescent care near you - free of charge!
Once you’ve created a care home shortlist, the next step is to make some additional inquiries about the convalescent care offered, including how long you can stay and what level of support they’re able to offer.
If you know in advance that you or a loved one will require convalescent care, then we’d recommend contacting a nursing home or similar home offering this type of care a couple of weeks in advance to get a bed reserved.
However, if the need for convalescent care suddenly occurs, we’d then advise you to ring different nearby care homes to find out if they have any availability.
Often, a free consultation will take place before any care begins. A goal-oriented care plan that outlines the care needs of yourself or your loved one will be created to ensure that the right level of personal care is provided. This assessment will also work out exactly what treatment you’ll need and how long you’ll be staying. The more information that’s given, the more detailed and accurate the tailored care plan will be.
Lottie matches care seekers with the best convalescent care homes for their needs. You can also request a free care home shortlist from our care experts, who will share homes matching your budget and location.
Convalescence is the period in which the body recovers from a serious illness, injury or surgery. Lifestyle changes may be required to ensure the body has enough time to allow for rest and a thorough recovery.
Convalescent care is a temporary form of care that provides additional support if you’re recovering from an operation or illness. Meanwhile, rehabilitation is the process of recovery from an injury or illness to as normal a condition as possible, often through the intervention of family and friends.
Convalescent care is a short-term form of care that provides extra support for people after recovering from an illness or operation. Convalescent homes provide round-the-clock support from care professionals and nurses.
Receiving convalescent care at home and being in familiar surroundings as you recover can have physical and emotional benefits. Being close to your favourite people, pets and possessions on a daily basis will greatly improve your mood and make you feel more comfortable and relaxed.