Many Thousands Of People Every Year Are Wrongly Paying For Long-Term Care
What do the following statements have in common?
- “Mum’s got a house, so she’ll have to pay for care for the moment.”
- “The care home manager said they’ll do a Continuing Healthcare funding assessment when Dad gets to ‘that stage’.”
- “At the hospital they asked if mum has savings. When I said yes, they confirmed she’d have to pay for her ongoing care.”
These statement have one thing in common: They are all wrong!
If you or a relative needs full time care and you have health needs, you need to understand some vital information about paying for care.
The above three statements all stem from the completely false assumption that if you have money/assets you always have to pay for your care. This is not true.
Not only that, it completely misses the whole point of the NHS Continuing Healthcare funding assessment process!
Let’s look at each statement a bit more closely:
“Mum’s got savings, so she’ll have to pay for care for the moment.”
It’s NOT a person’s money that determines whether or not they pay for care. This is a vital point to note. It’s ONLY their care needs that dictate whether or not they pay – or whether the NHS pays instead.
What’s more, the only way to know whether an individual’s care needs meet the criteria for full NHS funding is for an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment to be done – and done properly.
Most of us have been conditioned to think that we have to pay just because we have some money or a home. This is false. This conditioning often comes from what we read in the press and also from misinformation reported by families based on what they’ve been told by some health and social care authorities.
“The care home manager said they’ll do a Continuing Healthcare assessment when Dad gets to ‘that stage’.”
This is a very common mistake – and it leads to thousands of people in care paying care fees out of their own pocket when the NHS may actually have a legal duty to pay the whole cost instead – as a result of an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment.
It may be said: (1) out of ignorance; (2) perhaps because the care home manager knows that the NHS will pay the home less that they can charge a self-funder; (3) maybe because the person saying it wrongly believes a person has to be at ‘end of life’ to get any funding; or (4) perhaps because the person saying it has themselves been misled by the health and social care authorities into believing that people with a home or savings have to pay.
No one can say whether a person in care has reached ‘that stage’ until an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment has been carried out. That’s the whole point of the process: to see whether they do or don’t have to start paying in the first place!
This vital information about paying for care often doesn’t get passed on to families.
If an NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment shows that an individual does need to start paying for their care at this point (based on their care needs, not their money), they can still be reassessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare at a later date, should their care needs increase.
“At the hospital they asked if mum has savings. When I said yes, they confirmed she’d have to pay for her ongoing care.”
We used to hear this type of comment all the time: that the first thing a family is asked when a hospital is trying to discharge their relative into full-time care is whether or not they have any money or savings. It should be a Continuing Healthcare assessment that establishes who covers the cost of care, not the individual’s wealth! Remember, paragraphs 35 and 180 of the National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding state that ‘NHS care is free at the point of delivery’.
As with the previous statement, mistakes deciding who pays for care are often made at this point – with the family none the wiser that this is a clear breach of funding assessment guidelines and a disregard for case law (especially the Coughlan case) when it comes to assessing care needs and deciding who pays.
However, since the recent introduction of the Government’s emergency COVID Discharge Funding scheme, individuals being discharged from hospital into care are now entitled to 6 weeks’ NHS free-funded care whilst an assessment of their eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is determined. For more information read our blog: Discharged from hospital to a care home? Is your relative getting their entitlement to 6 weeks’ free care?
Get assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding
At Care To Be Different we have heard from hundreds of families over the years whose relatives have been misled into paying for care – simply because they had some savings and/or a home.
As we’ve seen, this is not what should be considered first. It’s a person’s care needs that should always be considered first – through an assessment for NHS Continuing Healthcare. Read about the stages of the Continuing Healthcare assessment process here.
Indeed, under the Care Act 2014 it is a specific requirement for any local authority means-testing assessor to confirm that NHS Continuing Healthcare funding has been properly considered at the outset. However, it is likely that many families will not be told about this.
Remember also that you don’t have to be in a nursing home to receive NHS Continuing Healthcare funding; you can be in an ordinary residential care home, hospice, other care facility or even in your own home. Also read: Who Is Entitled To CHC?
If you have a relative needing full time care – or about to need it – read more here about care fees and who should pay. And, if you know someone in this situation, please share this vital information about paying for care. For more information how you can help read our blog: Why is CHC always overlooked? Help spread the word…
Have you been affected by any of the above? Leave a comment below and share your experiences to help others…
If you need to speak to a specialist CHC nurse or just get some general advice about your case, visit our Advice Line Services or else get 1-2-1 expert legal support and advocacy help with your assessment or appeal.
For more reading around the subject take a look at these blogs: