Is the care system approaching breaking point
or is it already broken?
You’re trying to buy a TV, but it’s not clear what features it has, there’s no manual, and you’re unexpectedly asked for £250 more at the till. Oh, and the customer before just paid half the price you’re being charged.
It’s not something you would put up with in a high street shop, but many people are forced to accept this type of treatment when confronted by such a big and expensive decision: finding and funding a care home for yourself or a relative.
Recent research shines a light on the high costs, hidden charges and confusing information that confront people searching for a care home – something they all too often have to do in an unplanned or crisis situation.
Has your relative got capital or savings of more than £23,250?
- Social services should still assess your relative’s care needs and advise you of the best ways to provide for them
- If they’re assessed as needing nursing care in a nursing home and don’t get continuing healthcare funding they can claim the NHS-funded nursing care contribution which can be paid directly to the home.
- Check your relative is getting eligible benefits and allowances (e.g. pension credit and Attendance Allowance).
- Get your relative’s care needs assessed by Social Services.
- If your relative has less than £ 14,250 (£ 16,250 in Scotland), they will be entitled to maximum financial support. From £ 14,250 to £ 23,250, they contribute on a sliding scale.
- Your relative should be able to choose a care home if it meets their assessed needs and is within the local authority fee band.
- If your relative wants more expensive accommodation, a third party can choose to ‘top up’ the local authority payment
One in four (25%) English care homes are rated inadequate or requiring improvement (February 2018 – Care quality commission). 2% of care homes are rated as outstanding and 77% are rated as good, both of these figures have increased from 2017 (January 2018 – Independence Age). So things are improving but from a very low starting point.
Get the right help
Find the best home by scrutinising care home inspection results and learning what to look for when visiting potential homes. Finding a home with compassionate and kind staff is believed to be people’s biggest concern when considering moving to a care home. Another two large concerns were not getting along with other residents and possessions not being kept safe. The best thing you can do when looking for a care home is to ask lots of questions. Understandably if you find a nice care home you don’t want to the staff to consider you are awkward or being a lot of trouble and them not wanting you or your relative. But if you don’t want issues in the future you owe it to yourself and your family to be clear on what is included in the fees, what additional costs could there be, how much have the care fees increased each year over the previous 5, when do they reassess a resident’s needs, check out their statement of purpose, this details the services they provide and the types of needs they say they can meet, check whether there would come a time when the home couldn’t provide suitable care, if needs increase but can be catered for within the home what is the likely effect on current charges.
After all when you buy your TV you want the best deal and not to have any unexpected surprises and this is something that you will probably replace in a few years anyway. Whereas a care home is something you are choosing for the rest of a person’s life!
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