A quick guide for people using intermediate care services

image showing a man moving from wheelchair to supported walking to walking with a stick to walking unaided

Intermediate care services provide support for a short time to help you recover and increase your independence.

This support is provided by a team of people who will work with you to achieve what you want to be able to do. Intermediate care may help you:

  • remain at home when you start to find things more difficult
  • recover after a fall, an acute illness or an operation
  • avoid going into hospital unnecessarily
  • return home more quickly after a hospital stay.

Intermediate care at a glance

Services may have different names. There are 4 types that are usually called:

  • Reablement.
  • Crisis response.
  • Home based.
  • Bed based.

image showing a man on crutches being supported by a nurse

How is it different to other health and social care support?

  • A free short-term service.
  • Intensive support from a range of professionals.
  • Working with staff to agree your goals (for example making a meal, dressing and putting on make-up) and how to achieve them.
  • Helping you to practise doing things on your own.

Where does it happen?

  • Your own home.
  • Care home.
  • Hospital.

Four stages of intermediate care - what to expect

  • 1

    Before it starts

    • An assessment by a professional, that takes into account your abilities, needs and wishes.
    • Involvement, with your family if you wish, in decisions about intermediate care. This includes whether it will be suitable for you and which setting it will be provided in.
    • Information about advocacy services (an advocate is someone to support you to speak or who speaks on your behalf).

    illustration of a man in a wheelchair

  • 2

    At the start

    • A quick start to the service, which could be within a few hours for crisis response, or a few days for other settings.
    • Information about the service and what will be involved.
    • Support to plan what you are aiming for (your goals) and how to reach them. These discussions can include your family and carers if you wish.
    • A copy of the goals you have agreed to work towards in a format that suits you.
    • Help to think about any activities that might be risky, and to decide what support you need.
    • The opportunity to ask questions.

    illustration of footprints

  • 3

    While you are receiving the service

    • Support from a range of people, including therapists, to help you towards your goals.
    • How long the service lasts may change, depending on the progress you make.
    • Any information you need to help achieve your aims, written in a way that makes sense to you.
    • Day to day entried in your intermediate care diary to record the support you have received and your progress.
    • Information about who to talk to if you have any questions or concerns.

    illustration of footprints

  • 4

    At the end of intermediate care

    • A plan for transferring to another service, if you need ongoing support.
    • Information about other types of support available.
    • Information about how to refer yourself back to the service, if you need to.

    illustration of a house

The intermediate care team

Intermediate care services are usually provided by a mix of health and social care professionals with a range of different skills. The team might include nurses, social workers, doctors, and a range of therapists:


Occupational therapists

help you to work out how to manage everyday activities more easily and independently.



help you to improve your movement and physical activity.


Speech and language therapists

help you if you have difficulty with communication, or with eating, drinking and swallowing.


  illustration of a care home worker

Care home staff

may be involved if the service is provided in that setting.

  illustration of a home care worker

Home care staff

may be involved if people receive intermediate care at home.

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This content has been co-produced by NICE and SCIE and is based on NICE’s guideline on intermediate care, including reablement.