Intermediate care

The intermediate care framework was published in 2012. It encourages the development of a range of integrated services that can provide alternatives to hospital admission, and provide step-down care after a hospital admission. Read the framework: Maximising recovery, promoting independence: an intermediate care framework for Scotland

Intermediate care services are provided to patients, usually older people, after leaving hospital, or when they are at risk of being sent to hospital. The services offer a link between places such as hospitals and people's homes, and between different areas of the health and social care system - hospitals, community services, GPs and social care.

Aims of intermediate care

Intermediate care aims to:

  • help people avoid going into hospital unnecessarily
  • help people to be as independent as possible after a stay in hospital
  • prevent people from having to move into a care home until they really need to

 Types of intermediate care

Intermediate care can be provided in a variety of ways by local health and social care partnerships.

To find out what's available in your local area you should talk to your local GP, social work team or community nurse.  Care Information Scotland's website includes a find my council page, to help find local contact details.

Intermediate care at home

This provides people with rapid access to assessment, rehabilitation and support following a crisis. It is usually provided by a mix of health and social care professionals, for example occupational therapists and physiotherapists, home carers, and community support teams.

Help will usually be provided within 24 hours, and offers a safe alterative to admission to hospital, or short-term support following discharge from hospital. This type of care is time-limited, usually lasting for up to six weeks.

Bed based intermediate care

Similar to intermediate care at home, this is a time limited episode of care provided in dedicated care homes, housing with care or community hospitals. It can be provided as an alternative to admission to hospital (step-up) or to provide further assessment and rehabilitation, following discharge from hospital (step-down).

Hospital at home

A time limited episode of specialist clinical care provided at home (or care home), as an alternative to admission to acute hospital. The care is overseen by a consultant or GP with special interest.