The well-publicised cost of residential care home fees is daunting. The average weekly cost of a place in a residential home in England approximately £530, and a place in a nursing home around £730 per week. Almost half of the people currently in residential homes are fully self-funded and just over one-third are fully local authority funded. The rules around funding for residential care are based on a complicated means-tested system. Some people with complex medical needs receive free NHS Continuing Care, but most will have to have a financial assessment.
Local Authorities have a responsibility to arrange residential care for everyone who is assessed as needing it and is unable to make their own arrangements, financially or practically. They also have a responsibility to contribute to the cost of care for people who fit their eligibility criteria and cannot afford to fund themselves. You can top up agreed local authority support if necessary and if you are able to do so.
Care Home Fees: Needs Assessment
Regardless of your elderly parent’s financial situation, the first step is to get a needs assessment from the local social services department. This will provide a professional assessment of the type of care required in a written care plan. The plan may recommend residential care or alternatives if they assess that your relatives needs can be met at home.
If your parent has funds (capital and savings) below £23,250, they should be eligible for help from the County Council with the cost of their care.
If your parent has capital in excess of £23,250 they will be expected to pay for the costs of their care themselves. If, apart from their property, their savings are less than £23,250, Adult Care Services can help with their care costs for the first 12 weeks. They may be able to enter into a Deferred Payments Agreement until their property is sold.
However, and this is important – should the unthinkable happen, and your parent’s savings start to run out below the capital limit, they then become eligible for local authority funding. But, funding will only be available for residential provision for assessed needs, so it is really important to get a needs assessment done before choosing a care home even if your parents are self-funding their care. If they choose a care home that meets the needs in the care plan, they are more likely to get funding should their financial situation change in the future – so they may well not have to move homes if that ever became an issue.
Housing with Care
With regard to Housing with Care Schemes, there is usually a waiting list and in order to go on this your parent needs to have an assessment of their current housing needs. They should do this by contacting the District Council where the scheme is located and then completing a housing application form – for information about which District Council to approach, please see the brochure for the scheme you are interested in.
If your parent moves into Housing with Care they will be issued with a tenancy by the housing provider who owns the scheme. They may be eligible for Housing Benefit to help them with the rental costs.
As well as applying to go onto the Housing List they must also request an assessment from Adult Social Services. They may qualify for a Personal Budget that they can use to fund their care.
When a vacancy comes up in one of the schemes there is usually a meeting between the District Council and the housing provider, before a decision is made about offering the tenancy.