Does your relative need full time care?
Beware the 5 biggest myths about care fees…
The whole subject of care fees can be a minefield. Much of the information on the internet, in the press – and from the health and social care authorities themselves – is misleading, and often just plain wrong! It simply reinforces the 5 biggest myths about care fees.
Maybe you’ve been told your relative has to pay for care. Or perhaps you’ve heard about NHS funding for care and you’re wondering if you can apply for NHS Continuing Healthcare.
Mistakes about paying for care are made right at the start. People are told that if you have a certain level of savings and assets you have to pay. Not true. What should happen at the very beginning is an assessment of your health needs, not your money.
Most people are led to believe that care is just ‘care’. However, there is social care and, separately, there is healthcare/nursing care. Healthcare and nursing care are free in the UK, in law. Social care is means tested.
When someone goes into care the very first thing that should happen is an assessment for their health needs and their nursing needs. And it’s only if they’re not eligible for NHS funding that money should even been discussed. This almost always happens the other way round, though. People are asked straight away whether they have a house and/or how much money they’ve got. This is one of the reasons care funding mistakes are made.
If this happens to you, simply say: ‘At this point in time this is not about money, this is about health needs.’ Then ask for an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment. This is the funding that covers 100% of care costs for someone in care who has a certain level of health or nursing care needs. You can also ask for an assessment if your relative has been in care for some time.
Very often the first point of contact anyone has with the care authorities is with a local authority or local council. However, local authorities and councils provide (means tested) social care, and very often nobody mentions that there is also NHS funding for full time care.
People just don’t know about NHS funding and they’re not told about it; it’s one of the biggest scandals in our care system
As a result, many thousands of people are paying for healthcare and nursing care – care that should be provided and paid for by the NHS – regardless of a person’s age. If care homes didn’t exist those people would be in hospital and paid for 100% by the NHS.
Let’s look at the 5 biggest myths about care fees. They are myths that may have been told to you as fact…
5 biggest myth about care fees
- “All care is means tested and so, if you have a house, you always have to pay.” Not true. The decision as to whether you have to pay for care does not depend on whether you have a house; it depends on your health and care needs.
- “If you have savings over £23,350 you always have to pay for care.” Not true. See point 1 above.
- “If you have health/nursing needs – but you also have savings and/or a house – you have to pay.” Not true. Healthcare needs come before money – and it doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you need healthcare or nursing care it is these things that determine who pays, not what’s in your wallet.
- “It’s not worth applying for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding because it only covers specialist needs – and it doesn’t apply to people with dementia.” Absolutely not true! So many people are told this – by people in all parts of the care industry. NHS Continuing Healthcare funding does not depend on any specific diagnosis or any particular specialist needs. It’s about your day-to-day health and care needs – whatever the underlying diagnoses or problems are, and regardless of whether or not you have dementia.
- “If your spouse needs care and you own a house together, you will have to move and sell the property to pay for their care.” Not true. No one should be asked to pay for anyone else’s care (aside from top-ups, which are linked to social care) – and you don’t have to sell your house to fund someone else’s care.
There are also many other myths flying around about care fees.
The health and social care authorities often seem to be complicit in perpetuating these myths, and it leaves families exasperated, exhausted and seriously out of pocket trying to uncover the truth.
Always remember, it is only social care that is means tested, not nursing care.