For many people, placing an elderly relative into a nursing home or care facility can be a very traumatic process. The relative may have physical and mental infirmities or may simply be too frail to live alone and the family may be unable to provide the level of care required to enable them to live in their own home.
There are many factors to consider in choosing a care home or nursing facilities, such as the level of care needed, location, and quality of care.
Paying for care is very expensive, with the average care home costs in the UK being twenty-seven thousand pounds a year for residential care, and considerably more if nursing care is necessary. Most of the elderly people who are in care fund their care by selling their properties and using their savings or investment income. The threshold for capital allowed before having to pay for care is now £23,250, although if there is a spouse or partner, the property is usually not sold to fund care needs.
If the elderly person has no assets or is below the threshold, they are not usually required to pay in full for their care needs as the local authority will meet the costs. They may, however, be required to pay top-up fees if the local authority considers that the home chosen for care is more expensive than they would normally pay. All personal costs and necessities must be paid for out of the elderly person’s pension or by their family. If, however, the local authority believes that the elderly person has disposed of their assets to avoid paying for care, they will ensure that any costs are recovered. Read more for care homes.
The NHS will pay for care if the elderly person has medical needs that are severe enough to warrant nursing care under the Continuing Care Scheme. This is a little known scheme in which care is funded by the NHS for patients who have complex medical conditions and substantial care needs. In these cases, the NHS will pay for all costs involved, including a small personal allowance to cover toiletries and other small necessities of day to day living.
Assessments are carried out by medical staff with the patient’s full consent if this is possible. The initial assessment consists of a checklist and a full assessment which has many criteria such as cognition, ability to communicate, and physical and emotional needs. People who have severe needs in one or more areas are usually considered to be eligible for the Care Scheme. Patients are reassessed each year to ensure that they are still receiving the level of care that they require.
If a patient is not considered eligible for the Continuing Care Scheme, the NHS may still be able to help provide for their care by paying a contribution towards their nursing costs only. A fixed amount each week, the Registered Nursing Care Contribution, is paid to cover nursing costs This still requires all accommodation costs and personal care to be self-funded which can be expensive depending on the home chosen.
When choosing a care facility, it can, therefore, be worthwhile to enquire into this scheme to avoid paying unnecessary fees.