Context for Intermediate Care


Intermediate care services are provided to patients, usually older people, after leaving hospital or when they are at risk of being sent to hospital.

Intermediate care (01)

  • helps people to avoid going into hospital or residential care unnecessarily
  • helps people to be as independent as possible after a stay in hospital
  • can be provided in different places (e.g. community hospital, residential home or in people’s own homes).

Policy context

Intermediate care is not a new idea. Promoting independence and shifting care away from hospitals and residential homes has been a policy objective for over 30 years.

Intermediate care was developed as part of the NHS Plan in 2000 and was one of the national standards in the 2001 National Service Framework Service for Older People.

It is an important focus of efforts to integrate health and social care through the Better Care Fund. It is central to the ambitions of most Sustainability Transformation Plans across the country to shift more care closer to home and to the NHS Five Year Forward View triple aim of better health, better care, and better value.

Models of intermediate care

Four broad service models of intermediate care have evolved:

  1. Bed-based services are provided in an acute hospital, community hospital, residential care home, nursing home, standalone intermediate care facility, independent sector facility, local authority facility or other bedbased settings.
  2. Community-based services provide assessment and interventions to people in their own home or a care home.
  3. Crisis response services are based in the community and are provided to people in their own home or a care home with the aim of avoiding hospital admissions.
  4. Reablement services are based in the community and provide assessment and interventions to people in their own home or a care home. These services aim to help people recover skills and confidence to live at home and maximise their independence.

Support from SCIE

SCIE carries out reviews and evaluations of local areas’ strategies and plans for service transformation, including intermediate care, drawing on the latest evidence of what works.

Our support includes:

  • reviewing proposals for system and service transformation in relation to national best practice
  • analysing and segmenting data to identify the current state of service performance and demand for services
  • conducting cost-benefit analysis to establish the potential cost savings and cost avoidance to the whole system
  • working collaboratively with local stakeholders and people who use services and carers to re-design services
  • producing actionable recommendations.
  • SCIE also provides CPD-accredited training.

Find out more about support from SCIE