Who Pays For Care?
It’s bad enough facing the realisation that someone you love can no longer look after themself and/or has a long-term medical condition which requires ongoing long-term care. It’s often heart-wrenching to make the decision that none of that loved ones relatives can help in their care because they simply don’t have the skills or the medical expertise or simply that they don’t have the facilities to offer accommodation or their time. Then of course there’s the question of whether that loved one can actually make any decisions for themself, or has either dementia or Alzheimers already robbed them of those faculties?
To add to all this, we then have the ongoing discussions in various quarters about who should pay for the care provided. Needless to say, the NHS given their current state of financial affairs is not anxious to pick up the cost, likewise the cash-strapped local authorities. So, it is often the person requiring the care who ends up paying. This is called “self-funding” and is currently paid by over 50% of all long-term care patients. Given the average cost of care in a care home these days is £800 per week, the average 18 months stay in that care home costs the individual about £62,400. Then consider when the individual concerned has very little in the way of “liquid assets” with which to pay for that care, but simply a property (average values currently stand at about £200,000), it can clearly and swiftly be seen that the value of such a property is quickly eroded – and even negated – by the costs involved, leaving nothing to pass on to the family as an inheritance. All this despite the fact that the individual concerned has worked all his or her life, paid all due taxes and N.I.
As many as 95% of those currently self-funding should be entitled to funding but due to bureaucratic errors and lack of understanding of the workings of a very complicated system, are not assessed correctly and therefore paying for care when they may not need to do so.
Also, where the patient has limited or no capacity, there is often not a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare in place, therefore the family are unable to challenge any decisions made on that person’s behalf. This raises two issues – the need for a valid Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare and a thorough understanding of the care cost “leviathan” and how to check the system has been correctly applied. If not, then to know how to challenge the decisions made.
For further information, please contact us for an initial discussion.