Being discharging from hospital without a Continuing Healthcare assessment is one of the most common ways people risk being wrongly charged for care.
Increasingly, we hear from families who are harassed by hospital discharge teams into removing older relatives from hospital; they are then forced to start paying for care in a care home.
If you’re in this situation, and no NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment has been carried out. the hospital discharge team will almost certainly ask questions about your relative’s money. If your relative has savings or assets over a certain level, they’ll then no doubt be told to pay for their ongoing care. However, this may not be correct.
Having a relative in hospital can be very distressing for the whole family, and in such situations families are often at greater risk of being railroaded into agreeing to such a discharge – and yet without the funding assessment process even having been properly explained.
Being discharged from hospital without a Continuing Healthcare assessment is where many mistakes are made about paying for care.
A very common statement by some hospital discharge teams is that NHS Continuing Healthcare assessments are done at a later date ‘in the community’ – and that the person must leave hospital first. However, when this happens, families report they can then find themselves waiting months for an assessment. This whole process could also lead to people being wrongly charged for care. Here’s why…
- Remember that an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare establishes whether a person is beyond the legal limit for local authority care (social care). If that’s the case, the NHS should pay for full ongoing care. If a person’s care needs are beyond the local authority’s remit, and necessarily the responsibility of the NHS, it is unlawful for that person to be charged for their care.
- No one can say who should pay for a person’s ongoing care until an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding has taken place. This assessment is nothing to do with a person’s money or house; it’s about health and nursing care needs only.
- If the NHS or the local authority remove your relative from hospital and into a rehab/reablement facility, your relative should not be charged for this intermediate care.
- If your relative has an initial Checklist assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare while in hospital and this indicates that a full assessment is needed, the NHS is responsible for paying for ongoing care until the assessment process is complete – whether or not your relative remain in hospital during that time. It’s worth looking at the National Framework guidelines, page 25, paragraph 74.
- If a person is being pressured to leave hospital and start paying for long term care without this assessment process having taken place, it could constitute financial abuse on the part of the care authorities, because the person may be forced to pay for their ongoing care when that is in fact not required.
If you are in this situation with a relative in hospital:
- Insist on a Continuing Healthcare assessment being done while your relative is still in hospital. Part of the purpose of a Continuing Healthcare assessment is to ascertain what a person’s ongoing care needs are and what care may need to be put in place. It is, of course, also an essential process to determine who pays for that care. If you are finding that an assessment is being refused, and yet your relative has health needs and requires ongoing full time care, make a complaint in writing to the hospital management.
- Make it clear to the ward staff – and the discharge team – that you expect a Continuing Healthcare assessment to take place before your relative is discharged. You may also want to let them know you have made a written complaint.
- Get in touch with the Continuing Healthcare team within the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and insist on an immediate Checklist assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.