Please check with the Social Services for any changes
Residential and Nursing Homes
There will be occasions, when the level of care which is needed cannot practically or cost-effectively be provided in your own home on a permanent basis. Therefore consideration will need to be given to the facilities provided by residential and nursing homes as a longer term arrangement. Coming to terms with this situation can be extremely traumatic for everyone concerned.
Many of our preconceptions about care homes are very often far removed from reality. There is a range and variety of care homes to suit every taste and preference. When people actually visit a home for the first time, a reaction of 'I had no idea it would be this nice' is commonplace. There is no denying that the decision to enter care will invariably mean giving up your own home, and this is understandably a step which is taken with a degree of reluctance.
However, many people in residential care are still active and continue to pursue many of the activities which they enjoyed whilst living in their own home, but with the added benefit of security, companionship and 24 hour care.
The vast majority of residential and nursing care in the UK is provided by the independent sector which include voluntary and private organisation. This is supplemented by a smaller number of homes which are owned and operated by Local Authority Social Services Departments. It is a common misconception that private care homes are only available to wealthy individuals. In actual fact people whose care needs are entirely funded by the government are able to live in a private home if they wish, and indeed the cost of care in a private home can be up to a third less expensive than that provided by the Local Authority.
Respite and Day Care
Circumstances may arise in which an individual requires a period of more intensive care. This may be following a period of sickness or perhaps because of the absence of the usual family carer as a result of holidays. In such situations, respite care in a specialist nursing or residential establishment may provide the solution. Many homes, particularly those in the independent sector are able to provide extremely flexible respite care packages. These can range from a two week visit, to day care or even an overnight stay.
Your local council will carry out a financial assessment before deciding whether they, or you, should pay all or part of the costs of your care.
The financial assessment looks at how much savings and property (known as capital) you have and your income (for example, pensions or state benefits).
Local councils can decide how much they charge. Below is some general information on how they work this out.
How councils work it out:
- If you have less than £12,750 in savings and property (known as capital), it will not be taken into account. However, you may still have to pay something towards your care if you have other income (for example, pensions or state benefits).
- If you have between £12,750 and £21,000 in capital, you will have to pay some of the costs of your care.
- If you have more than £21,000 in capital, you will have to pay all costs for your care until the value falls below £21,000.
This information was correct in April 2006 but the figures are set by Government and may change each year.
About your property
When working out how much you can afford to pay, the council will disregard the value of your property for the first 12 weeks of your stay in a care home.
This is to give you time to decide what you want to do with your property. You may choose to rent it or sell it.
Whatever you decide to do, you should get some financial advice on how to manage your money.
Remember: don't rush your decision.
If you are being assessed for care in your own home the value of your property will not be taken into account.
Warning: if you pass on your house to relatives before going into a care home, you still may be assessed on how much it’s worth.
Make sure that you claim all the benefits you are entitled to. More than £2 billion is left unclaimed by older people each year.
Other ways you can get help
Your husband or wife might pay
Although the council does not have the right to means test your partner, it can make enquiries about whether or not they would be able to pay for your care.
Third party top-up payments
Your local council might ask a friend or a relative if they can top up your fees.
Fully-funded NHS care
If you have more complex health needs, you may be eligible for what’s known as “continuing NHS healthcare” which is free of charge to you.
Free care under the Mental Health Act
If you have been kept in hospital under certain sections of the Mental Health Act, you may be eligible for free care when you go home.
Last updated: 08/04/2006
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Rights and Choices
Individuals who are self funding are able to choose the type of care they require and can purchase that care from whomever or wherever they wish. Many Social Service Departments advise self funding individuals to contact them to arrange their care. This is on the basis that their financial situation may fall below the threshold limit at some future date and if funding support will be required from the Local Authority, it is helpful if Social Services have been involved from the outset. In certain circumstances this may be an appropriate course of action, but it can also result in a level of influence from the Local Authority which is detrimental to the individual. It is advisable to obtain independent guidance before making a decision.
If help at home is determined as being appropriate, your Social Worker will advise of the care package and funding support which is available.
If residential or nursing care is more suitable, Social Services will again advise of the financial support that can be provided. However the individual has the right to choose the care home which he or she prefers. Social Services may make recommendations, but you are entitled to make your own selection as long as your choice of home provides the type of care you require and is properly registered with the Local Authority.
In situations where the value of assets are less than £12,750, the basic cost of care will be met by the Local Authority. This effectively enables individuals to retain this amount for their own use and needs. In addition a personal allowance will be made available for personal expenditure.
You may wish to choose a care home which has a higher fee charge than Social Services are willing to pay. This may be because you find the atmosphere or facilities more suited to your needs or perhaps because the location of the home is more convenient for visiting family and friends. In such circumstances, a fee top-up can be made to meet the shortfall. However the system requires that this should not be paid by the individual receiving care, out of their personal allowance, and can only be from their own disregarded assets or income if the 12 week property disregard applies or if they have entered into a deferred payment agreement with the Local Council.