If you or a relative need long term care, The Care Act has implications for self-funders, as there will be a new system of social care assessments for people who have to pay for their own care.
This applies to local authority assessments, not NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments.
Bernie Crean from Care Review Services Ltd outlines some of the issues relating to the new social care assessment system, and he highlights the potential flaws in the process:
Most if not all Social Services teams across the country use a computer based assessment tool to generate an ‘estimated care budget’ (EB). They then look to meet care needs within this estimated budget.
This online assessment tool has mainly been used to assess the care needs and costs for individuals who were below the current local authority financial threshold of £23,500. It has not generally been used for those above this financial threshold and who are classed as being self-funders.
This electronic assessment process will soon be the assessment tool that is used to consider the care needs and costs for self-funders, too – under the new Care Bill that comes into effect in April 2015. It will also be of importance when the ‘Dilnot care meter’ and financial cap on care fees is implemented in April 2016. (Since this article was written, the government has postponed this until 2020.)
However, unlike in NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments where a team of assessors is required, in the new social care assessments it will be the sole responsibility of one single assessing social worker to ‘score’ care needs using this new online assessment tool.
It is possible, therefore, that decisions about how social care needs have been scored will be challenged at a later date …