The one vital question to ask when choosing a care home

The one vital question to ask when choosing a care home

Finding a care home – this key question could save thousands of pounds

Making the right choice of care homeChoosing 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.

The 7 most outrageous reasons for not receiving an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment

How to choose a care home


  1. Sean Moran 3 years ago

    We are in the same situation. If you see this post, Kerrie and Sally, how did this situation resolve if you don’t mind me asking? Mum has CBD (a neurological illness, very rare). She needs 24 hour care. She is no longer mobile and has little to no cognition but can eat and swallow currently but this will also deteriorate. She has been granted NHS Continuing Healthcare and has been in hospital for two months. We are looking at care homes but already they are swaying us to cheaper ones saying that we will have to make up the shortfall. We obviously want her in one that meets her needs but also one that is close enough for people to visit.

    Any advice welcomed. Thanks.

  2. Kerrie 4 years ago

    We’re in a similar situation, we have been refused our choice of care home because the CCG will only find £658 & the care home charges £950. The home has 6 beds for Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funded residents but these are all full. They still have vacant beds and will accept my father. He is now in a hospice for 2 weeks, but if he stabilises, we will have to start looking again for a care home to take him with only limited funding.

    • angie 2 years ago

      hi Kerrie, What was the outcome of your situation. We have a Palliative patient who has been identified has getting NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) but the home most suitable for his needs the CHC won’t fund and want to choose a cheaper place which cannot provide all his needs.

  3. Sally 4 years ago

    My dad is eligible for Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding (he is approaching end of life). I have power of attorney and have seen and selected a care provider. I asked if they had previously had residents who were in receipt of CHC funding. The reply was ‘yes’, but then I was asked not to mention this to the Continuing Healthcare team as they would think that we were in collusion and it could prove counter-productive. I haven’t mentioned it – yet.

    The letter I have just received from the Continuing Health care team has a grudging tone about it, making much mention of costs and benchmarks, clearly trying to manage my expectations down. They know about my preferred choice of provider for dad but didn’t mention it.
    I have since found out that the CHC brokerage team offered my preferred provider £625 per week for nursing care that the provider estimates will cost £1250 per week minimum.

    I am considering advocacy as there is clearly some kind of CCG imposed funding cap in place here. One care home manager said “our costs are at least £1250 per week for nursing and the CCG has capped all funding at £825 per week, so how do you intend to make up the shortfall?” Needless to say, I rejected that provider as an option for dad.

    What’s your advice re my next steps and can you recommend an advocate should I need one?

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