Avoid making these 3 NHS Continuing Healthcare mistakes
Today’s article is from Angela Sherman, director and founder of Care To Be Different. She shares more about her own fight for NHS funding for her parents, including her 3 biggest mistakes with NHS Continuing Healthcare.
These mistakes are easy ones to make, as many families know only too well. That’s why being well-informed and forearmed prior to any NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment is absolutely vital.
I went through the NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment process pretty much alone. At the time I didn’t know anyone else fighting this battle, and I only heard about Continuing Healthcare from a programme on TV. I was working in a completely different field at the time and, when my parents needed care and I needed information on care fees, every single person I spoke to gave me incorrect information.
My own personal experience with NHS Continuing Healthcare is the reason I started Care To Be Different – to help other families avoid the pitfalls in the process and have a better chance of securing NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.
So here are my 3 biggest mistakes with NHS Continuing Healthcare:
1) Not knowing the care fees ‘system’
I’ve written before about how important it is to be well informed when it comes to care fees and care funding.
Many families reach a crisis point when a relative needs care. With the emotional and practical turmoil that accompanies such a situation, it’s understandable that there’s often little time to read up on the rules about paying care fees.
This was certainly true for me.
I had two parents needing care at the same time, and my first consideration was to get them somewhere safe. Trying to manage everything and also pick my way through the process of getting them into care – not to mention the emotional pain that goes with all this – was exhausting.
Tip: I advise anyone with a relative who may soon need care to read up – in advance – as much as possible about care fees and NHS Continuing Healthcare. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t simply assume you understand the care funding system!
This leads me on to my second mistake…
2) Believing what everyone – literally everyone – told me
Friends, family, care fees professionals, NHS employees, social workers, charities – absolutely everyone I spoke to about paying for care gave me false information.
The cause, in my view, was a combination of professional incompetence, ignorance and years of false conditioning. In my experience – and in the experience of the thousands of families who’ve contacted us over the years – many people working in the care system lack proper training in care funding assessments.
Others seems to have agendas that are questionable at best, illegal at worst.
And others have simply believed the incorrect information they themselves have been given about care fees – and they unwittingly pass that on to other people.
In hindsight, of course, this is all very clear. At the time, though, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Sometimes we don’t actually realise what assumptions we make or what information we’ve swallowed as fact. In addition, it can take courage to challenge something when everyone – literally everyone – is telling you the opposite, especially when those people either hold a position of authority or are professionally qualified in some way to provide advice.
Tip: Always, always, always double check what you’re told. Never assume people know what they’re talking about – no matter what their qualifications. Many people also have their own agenda in all this, and it may not be in your – or your relative’s – best interest.
3) Being too compliant during assessments
As I mention above, it can take courage to challenge what you’re told; this can be particularly difficult in an actual funding assessment meeting, where you may feel new to all this, or you feel outnumbered by assessors and/or by people whose job titles suggest they know best.
I certainly felt like this at the beginning. In addition, I was conscious that if I annoyed people by continually questioning everything, it may work against me. I learned, however, that very often that kicking up a fuss is often exactly what you have to do.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask assessors (and others) for proof that what they’re telling you is correct. This may involve asking an assessor to show you – in black and white – where exactly the NHS Continuing Healthcare guidelines (and more importantly the law) support what they’re saying.
The more you read up on what’s actually right, the more courage you will have to question things. Read the Continuing Healthcare guidelines – then read them again. Read as much as you can on this Care To Be Different website. Ask questions on the blog and on our Facebook page. The more you yourself know, the more likely you are to be better informed than some assessors.
If you know someone with a relative who will need care soon – or indeed already does – make sure they’re not under the false assumption that they always have to pay for care just because they have some savings or a house.
We can all learn from the experience of other families. If you’ve been through the NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment process, did you make mistakes? Feel free to share them in the comments here.
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