We often publish hints and tips about how to prepare for a Continuing Healthcare assessment. This article highlights 5 things to avoid in Continuing Healthcare assessments for your relative.
5 things to avoid in NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments
1. Don’t answer any of the assessor’s questions about your relative’s money
Questions about money are inappropriate at this point. Many families report that such questions are asked right at the start of assessments, and it’s obvious that in asking these questions the assessors are trying to ascertain whether your relative might have the means to pay for their own care. Always remember that a Continuing Healthcare assessment is about health and care needs only. It should never be about your relative’s personal money or assets.
One family reports that the very first words uttered by the social worker right at the start of one such assessment, were: “So, is your mother going to be self-funding then?” This shows either an appalling lack of understanding on the part of the social worker about what a Continuing Healthcare assessment is actually about, or a seriously underhand way of getting the family to agree to pay.
2. Don’t assume the assessors are on your side
This may sound cynical, but we hear time and time again of assessors seeming nice and helpful and understanding, but then failing to record the full picture of needs on the Decision Support Tool form, giving families false information about funding and eligibility and changing assessment scores after the actual assessment meeting is over.
One family reports that an assessor had a seemingly sympathetic chat with them before an assessment meeting. The assessor wanted to impress on the family that they could save themselves a lot of time, trouble and distress if they realised that their relative just didn’t fit the criteria for Continuing Healthcare funding. Thankfully the family saw straight through this and later went on to secure full funding for their relative.
3. Don’t sign your agreement/or verbally agree with the outcome until you have received the eligibility decision in writing
We know of families whose signatures on the assessment notes have later been used to argue that they agree with the outcome of an assessment, i.e. the actual funding decision. The funding decision is not made by the assessors at the assessment meeting, and so a family cannot possibly agree with that in advance. If you do sign anything in an assessment meeting, state in writing that you simply attended the meeting – not that you agree with any subsequent funding decision.
4. Don’t believe any assessor who says that Continuing Healthcare funding covers only a limited number of hours per week for full time care at home
This is completely false. NHS Continuing Healthcare at home covers all assessed care needs – regardless of how much care is required.
5. Don’t be afraid to question the assessors on every assumption or statement they make
Families report being given incorrect information about the assessment process – during an actual assessment. Also, it has been known for assessors to make up new criteria for funding with the sole purpose of rendering a person ineligible. If you’re not sure if what you’re being told is right, ask the assessor to show you the page and paragraph reference in the relevant set of NHS Continuing Healthcare guidelines to support what they are saying.