How to find fund­ing for long-term care

The Jewish Chronicle - - JC SPECIAL -

IF YOUR el­derly rel­a­tive is strug­gling to live in­de­pen­dently, even with the help of car­ers, friends or re­la­tions, it might be time to start think­ing about the wider care op­tions. Ac­cord­ing to healthcare con­sul­tancy LaingBuis­son, residential care homes cost on av­er­age £557 a week in Eng­land. If your rel­a­tive re­quires med­i­cal care from a qual­i­fied nurse on-site 24 hours a day, they will re­quire a nurs­ing home, cost­ing on av­er­age £730 a week in Eng­land. That is an av­er­age an­nual cost of £29,000 to £37,960, over what could be sev­eral years.

“In an ideal world, we would be able to sit down with our loved ones and plan ahead but un­for­tu­nately this isn’t al­ways the case,” says Jenni Allen from Which? El­derly Care. “Rel­a­tives of­ten find them­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where long-term, costly de­ci­sions need to be made very quickly.”

The cost of care also de­pends on where you live. In the South East you could pay nearly £300 more for weekly nurs­ing care than in the North East, or more than £150 per week for residential care. You may be able to claim fi­nan­cial sup­port. Lo­cal author­i­ties have a le­gal duty to carry out a needs as­sess­ment of any­one they think might be el­i­gi­ble for lo­cal au­thor­ity care, to de­cide what type of care would best suit them. Rec­om­men­da­tions could in­clude per­sonal, nurs­ing or spe­cial­ist care.

How­ever, fund­ing isn’t a given. Your rel­a­tive’s in­come, sav­ings and as­sets will be scru­ti­nised. If they have sav­ings and as­sets to­talling more than £23,250 (Eng­land and North­ern Ire­land), £26,250 (Scot­land) or £23,750 (Wales), or in­come high enough to pay for care, they will not be el­i­gi­ble for lo­calau­thor­ity fund­ing. Of the 401,000 peo­ple in residential care across the UK, only 36 per cent are fully lo­cal-au­thor­ity funded. Aside from lo­cal-au­thor­ity fund­ing, your rel­a­tive may be able to ac­cess fund­ing through NHS con­tin­u­ing healthcare or NHS-funded nurs­ing care. But only those with very spe­cific care needs meet the cri­te­ria.

If you have ex­plored all op­tions and drawn a blank, you are not alone — 44 per cent of peo­ple in residential homes in the UK are fully self-funded, with 13 per cent par­tially self-funded.

One of the ben­e­fits of self-fund­ing is that you can choose the care home that best fits the spe­cific needs of your loved one — and usu­ally from a broader range than you might be of­fered if you were in re­ceipt of lo­cal-au­thor­ity fund­ing. Your rel­a­tive may still be en­ti­tled to other ben­e­fits and al­lowances, such as at­ten­dance al­lowance, per­sonal in­de­pen­dence pay­ment and pen­sion credit, so make sure they are claim­ing, as these can help with liv­ing ex­penses.

Jenni Allen from Which? El­derly Care adds: “Rel­a­tives should con­sider the op­tions avail­able to them be­fore de­cid­ing who to en­trust with the care of their loved one. Choos­ing to place a rel­a­tive in a care home can be dif­fi­cult. That’s why Which? El­derly Care was set up; we pro­vide in­de­pen­dent, clear and up-to-date in­for­ma­tion through tools like our care ser­vices di­rec­tory, to help peo­ple nav­i­gate their way through the maze of com­plex choices.” For more de­tails on all as­pects of ar­rang­ing care for a loved one, see which.co.uk/ el­derly-care

If you opt for care at home, in­stead of in a residential fa­cil­ity, you need to en­sure that the care pro­vided is suit­able for you and your loved one’s needs, says Jane Stewart, of Peach Nurs­ing. First, make sure you are clear about what sup­port is re­quired and if it should be day, night or both. Will other car­ers be in­volved, such as the dis­trict nurse, so­cial ser­vices or pal­lia­tive nurses? Care ser­vices must be reg­is­tered with The Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion (CQC), whose in­spec­tion re­ports are avail­able online. Read the last two for each provider you are con­sid­er­ing. If you read a bad re­port, move on. Find out who the owner/man­ager is and what their qual­i­fi­ca­tions are.

“I am al­ways more com­fort­able to see that an owner man­ager is a qual­i­fied nurse with ex­pe­ri­ence that fits the ser­vice,” says Ms Stewart. Also note if the care provider spe­cialises in a par­tic­u­lar field, such as de­men­tia.

Will the care provider visit you to do an as­sess­ment? If not, move on. The as­sess­ment is a time for you to meet the fa­cil­i­ta­tor and get a feel for “is this per­son right for us?”

Ref­er­ences, ID and visas, crim­i­nal­records check­ing and train­ing are im­por­tant. “Can the carer lift or use a hoist?” asks Ms Stewart. “Do they wear a uni­form? Can they speak good, clear English? Can they read and write? Will they do other du­ties such as light house­work, pre­par­ing a meal and shop­ping?”

Advertising in­de­pen­dently is risky, un­less you are well versed in mat­ters such as visas, crim­i­nal-records checks and train­ing cer­tifi­cates. There is also the mat­ter of ref­er­ences and indemnity in­sur­ance. If you choose this route, have a trial pe­riod and speak to the last em­ployer about the carer’s re­li­a­bil­ity, abil­ity, at­ti­tude and pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

Does your loved one need a help­ing hand?

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