NHS Funding for Care
Paying for care is a contentious issue. Many people feel they have worked hard all their lives, paid into the system and that care should be provided free when needed.
The media focus heavily on people being ‘forced’ to sell their family homes to pay for care. There is the injustice that those that have nothing, pay nothing and those paying in full fund others. It is a contentious, emotional subject with families faced with little choice in order to keep their loved living nearby.
With an ageing population, this issue isn’t going to disappear overnight. Caring for elderly people is an expensive job with multiple costs, staffing, property, food, and fuel to name just the basics. It’s a 24-hour 365 day a year responsibility, and someone has to meet the cost. Also, someone has to do it!
However, there is hope, are you aware that you CAN get NHS funding for care homes? Little publicised and lesser understood but if someone’s care needs are primarily health, ones the NHS will pick up the bill.
What constitutes health needs?
A health need involves illness and medication, this is where the problems lie. Many elderly people and especially someone with dementia have care needs, yet these are deemed to be social, i.e. help with washing and dressing, help with housekeeping and paying bills, etc. Social and health needs differ causing confusion and complication. Health needs are medical ones as delivered in a hospital helping to maintain life through care and medication in a nursing home.
It is a complex maze, with many families never reaching the middle or if they do unable to find their way back out. Fraught with challenges it’s something to seek advice on. Getting NHS Continuous Care is an arduous, complex struggle but I would urge people to fight for the help their loved one is entitled to.
A persons’ needs are assessed, usually whilst they are still in hospital, and graded A-C, with A being the greatest need and C the least. There is a 28-day time frame from assessment to a final decision from a multi-disciplinary team. If the decision is not to award NHS Continuing Care it can be appealed, however many relatives don’t and merely concede to paying for the care. Also, if the decision takes longer than 28 days to reach the NHS should be paying for the care.
You should NOT be paying for care in full.
A decision to award NHS Continuing Care is based on the person’s assessed needs and not a specific diagnosis or condition and if needs change eligibility may also.
Due to NHS funding struggles many people are not being made aware of this financial help. I would recommend seeking help with an application even if you have to pay for it, as it could save thousands of pounds in the long term.