Here are 10 tips to help you respond when you’re in a conversation about care fees:
1) It doesn’t matter whether your relative is at home, in a care home or somewhere else, no one should ask them to pay for care until it’s been properly decided who is legally responsible.
2) NHS funding for care is called NHS Continuing Healthcare; it is available to people who meet certain criteria. Make sure you read the criteria.
3) If anyone in health and social care tells you your relative has to pay for care, ask them why they are saying that – and on what basis they’ve reached that conclusion. They can only reach that conclusion after NHS Continuing Healthcare funding has been considered.
4) You don’t have to complete ANY financial assessment forms – and certainly not before a Continuing Healthcare assessment. If you’ve had the Continuing Healthcare assessment and your relative is not eligible, you still don’t have to complete any financial assessment forms; you can simply choose to pay. Also, be sure to also appeal any Continuing Healthcare funding decision you disagree with. The health and social care authorities have no business looking into your or your relative’s finances until the Continuing Healthcare process is complete. It is none of their business.
5) Some people working in health and social are have not had adequate training in the legal context in which they work. In other words, when they’re giving you incorrect information about care fees, they may not even realise that they may be in beach of their own code of conduct, and possible also the law.
6) Familiarise yourself with the Care Act and how it helps you with Continuing Healthcare funding.
7) It doesn’t matter what diagnosis a person may have; this does not affect their eligibility for Continuing Healthcare. It is their day-to-day care needs that count.
8) If your relative receives Continuing Healthcare funding, this covers ALL their social care needs, too. It also covers the costs of accommodation, food etc in a care home.
9) Don’t let anyone discharge your relative from hospital until a Continuing Healthcare assessment has taken place.
10) Just because your relative may have been paying for care up until now doesn’t mean they should be – or that they should be in the future.
…and an extra tip:
11) Don’t let anyone put you off having a Continuing Healthcare funding assessment. People are likely to tell you it’s “not worth it” or that you’re “not eligible” or that they “don’t have time to do an assessment” or that you “have to start paying first” – and many other untruths. Get informed. Read as much as you can in advance.
So if you find yourself having conversations about care fees with people in health and social care – and also care providers – be vigilant. Don’t let them steer you into paying for care before it has been properly ascertained who is actually legally responsible for paying. Never assume it is your relative.