Convalescence and Recuperation

If you are a TBF beneficiary you may feel you need a break following illness or serious problems.

What is Convalescence?

Convalescence helps you make an earlier recovery than would otherwise be the case. Usually this means recovery from a serious illness or operation, but it can also help after a traumatic event (perhaps the death of your partner, a serious accident or assault or witnessing a serious injury).

While we are naturally sympathetic if you are affected by long-term continuing illness, convalescence does not normally lead to a sustained improvement in health and therefore we cannot generally provide it in such cases. Please note that we are also unable to provide convalescence where a holiday would be more appropriate.

a) Convalescence following illness

  • We will generally provide this if you have been in hospital for a complex operation or because of a serious bout of ill health. It cannot normally be provided, however, if your hospitalisation was for investigation, a regular course of treatment, control of symptoms or where the period spent in hospital was very short or the surgery relatively minor or non-invasive.
  • You should normally apply for convalescence within four weeks of being discharged from hospital, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule. For instance you may have to undertake a course of out-patient treatment after you have left hospital which does not allow you to be away for a fortnight; if so, you should apply for convalescence as soon as you are able. We are sorry that we cannot consider applications which have been delayed without sound medical reason.
  • As explained earlier, convalescence is not normally granted in cases of long-term ongoing illness but this is not an absolute bar. If you have undergone an operation or painful treatment for your illness or there has been a significant change in your condition, you and your carer may be suffering from exhaustion or stress. We shall be pleased to consider applications made for these reasons on their merits.

b) Convalescence for other reasons

  • You may apply for convalescence within a year of the death of your partner or your child.
  • Sometimes circumstances arise where you (and possibly your partner and dependent children) would benefit from convalescence although you do not meet the normal criteria. This might be because you have suffered a period of excessive stress, an accident or assault, witnessed serious injury to another or through other problems. We are happy to consider applications for these reasons, although a shorter spell of recuperation may be more appropriate.

What is Recuperation?

Recuperation provides a break if you are not eligible for convalescence but are suffering from:

  • an extended period of stress; or
  • an acute condition requiring surgery (not necessarily in hospital); or
  • a long-term ongoing illness in which there has been a significant development of some kind; or
  • other circumstances which make it desirable that we grant a spell of recuperation.

It is granted for up to a week and the points made under Convalescence above, generally also apply to recuperation.

Other things to be aware of

  • You (or someone acting on your behalf) will need to complete an application form and provide all the necessary information. Your medical adviser or GP will normally need to sign the form and we are sorry that we cannot meet any charge made by the GP for this.
  • We normally grant two weeks’ convalescence, because it is not usually possible to recover in less time. We cannot, however, grant more than two weeks. It may be, though, that you need to return to work quickly or do not wish to stay away for two weeks. In such cases arrangements will be made for a shorter period. If you simply cannot face going on your own (but are medically able to) we may be able to provide one week for both you and your partner.
  • You cannot normally be accepted direct from hospital. We will arrange suitable dates for your convalescence with our service partners, and aim for you will begin your stay within four weeks of our agreeing your application. Please understand, though, that we may not meet this target at very busy times or if you have particular needs. We make special efforts to ensure that working beneficiaries are able to take convalescence at a time which does not extend their period of absence from work, and they always receive priority. Please ensure you tell us when you can (or cannot) convalesce and why.
  • We do not automatically refuse to grant a second spell of convalescence within one year of the first, but we need to consider the application carefully and it should not normally be for a related condition. Do not be afraid to re-apply provided the condition is not a long-term one.
  • We are generally able to pay only for the patient to take convalescence. Sometimes, though, it is not possible for them to go away on their own. They may be unable to meet their own basic needs without help or a partner or dependent child may be at risk if left alone at home. In such cases we can usually pay for them too, and we aim to allow partners of working members to accompany them because of the impact of illness on working families.
  • We and our service partners must reserve the right to decline (or to end) convalescence for anyone who behaves improperly towards any other patient, guest or staff, causes any damage, harms our good name or interferes with the right of other patients to enjoy their stay.

What are my options?

1. RCH Centre, Bridge House, Dawlish –

  • All rooms are furnished to a high standard, with beautiful grounds and home cooked food. All rooms are en-suite. There are limited bar facilities and there is a car park within the grounds.
  • It is about a mile from the town centre (a pleasant walk but with a gradual slope) and there is an occasional public bus or guests can club together for a taxi. From the town centre there are good bus and train services to Exeter, Torquay and Newton Abbot.
  • There are only two rooms on the ground floor and these are reserved for those who need wheelchair access. There are lifts to the bedrooms on the upper floors.
  • Please ensure you give us details of when you cannot go away. The RCH Centre is closed over Christmas and New Year and we are not normally able to arrange convalescence during these periods, either there or elsewhere.
  • We shall make a contribution towards the cost of your travel and incidental costs, but this is not intended necessarily to cover the full costs. If you cannot travel alone (but do not need to be accompanied once you reach the convalescence facility) we may make additional payments to help meet the cost of a carer travelling with you.

For more information see the Bridge House website.

2. Cash alternative

There are other circumstances in which the RCH Centre would not be appropriate and so alternative arrangements are made, which include;

  • those who need to take children (they are not accepted by the RCH)
  • those who cannot travel long distances
  • room availability
  • physical constraints or other needs
  • your expected date of resuming work.

In such cases, other arrangements are made where we may be able to provide cash help towards a break you organise yourself, but we need to be sure this would be appropriate and need to see confirmation of arrangements made before we can make money available. We have to be sure this will be suitable for you and we will need to see evidence of an approved booking. We are unable to make provisional bookings – we must have your application back first. When we have made arrangements we shall send you confirmation and make a contribution towards your incidental costs (including travel), though we cannot undertake to meet these in full.

If you wish to take someone with you (whether or not you think we may be able to pay for them), please ensure we receive a Lilac Form: Request for someone to accompany a convalescent completed by that person with your own Turquoise Form: Request for convalescence.

Please ensure your doctor completes the forms with regards to the respective applicants’ details. We do not need medical statements for those under 18, unless they are applying for convalescence, though we do need the front of the Yellow Form to be completed.

How do I apply?

We will ask the person requiring convalescence or recuperation to complete a Turquoise Form. If they wish to be accompanied, a Lilac Form will need to be completed by the person accompanying the convalescent.

Question MarkRequest a Turquoise Form: Request for convalescence and/or Lilac Form: Request for someone to accompany a convalescent

Other Benefits

"Thank you so much for your most generous cheque towards my travel and incidental costs. I greatly enjoyed my stay in Dawlish; it made me feel better. I am most grateful to you for your great kindness".
TBF member from Highbury