Finding a care home – this key question could save thousands of pounds
Choosing a care home that is right for your relative can be difficult – not just because you never really know what a place will be like until you live there, but also because there are funding issues to consider.
The health and social care authorities may suggest a particular care home to you.
Be cautious with any recommendation they make. Unfortunately their suggestion is likely to be financially motivated: if they think they may have to pick up the bill, now or in the future, they’re likely to simply recommend the cheapest.
Ask this question before choosing a care home
Whether or not you’re currently applying for NHS Continuing Care funding, bear in mind that you may do at some point in the future. NHS Continuing Care covers 100% of the costs of care in a care home and it means your relative has to pay nothing.
So here’s one crucial question to ask before you make a decision about a particular home:
Find out from the care home manager whether the home you’re considering has any residents funded through NHS Continuing Healthcare. If they don’t at the moment, ask whether they have done in the past.
If the home does have residents who are funded in this way, then there’s no reason why the NHS wouldn’t also fund your relative in the same way at that particular care home – assuming your relative is eligible. If the NHS already funds people there, they can’t argue with your choice of care home.
If the care home doesn’t have anyone funded through Continuing Healthcare, it doesn’t mean your relative won’t receive the funding. It just means the NHS could potentially argue about the choice of home. They may for example claim that it’s too expensive. However, this is an argument that doesn’t necessarily hold water and you can challenge it.
If your relative has health needs, ask their social worker or care home manager to initiate an NHS Continuing Healthcare ‘Checklist’ assessment. This is the first assessment that should be carried out when someone needs full time care – before anyone asks you about money.
If anyone says an assessment is ‘not worth it’ or that your relative ‘won’t qualify’, stand your ground and insist on an assessment.