Understanding care home costs
1.Finding out exactly what care you need is key to understanding the financial plan.
‘How much do care homes cost?’ and ‘What exactly will I be paying for?’ are likely to be two of your first questions. The answer to these questions depends on a variety of factors, such as where you live and the level of care you need.
How much care you need affects how much you will pay. If you need 24 hour care you are likely to pay more than someone who is largely independent. Care needs are determined by an assessment that would take place at your home or at the hospital you are staying in.
- What is the maximum capital limit for local authority funding where I live?
Many people are eligible to have at least some of their care home costs paid for by their local authority. This largely depends on how much capital you have (such as savings or property ownership) and where you live in the UK.
It is likely you will need to pay at least some of your care costs yourself if you have savings or own property above the value of:
- £23,250 in England
- £30,000 in Wales
- £26,500 in Scotland.
- Find our how much your chosen care home charges
Each care home will have a slightly different price plan depending on the types of care offered and lifestyle factors, such as room sizes, physical surroundings and activities that are available. you will need to check exactly what your fees cover. By law, accommodation, meals and laundry will be included in fees but other services, such as private chiropody services or hairdressing can be charged as an extra cost depending on the care home’s individual pricing policy. Any good care home will be able to list such extra costs for you if you request them so that there are no surprising bills to pay. This is how we operate at Evermore Care and costs are explained from the outset.
Annual Fee Increase
Care home may review their fees annually taking into account RPI (retail Price index) and inflation, as well as any known changes in regulation costs, pensions, living wage etc
Funding your care
It is likely that you will be responsible for paying at least some of your care home costs. however, it is possible that the NHS or your local authority will cover some or all of the fees.
Here are the main options for funding your care; we will take you through how funding is decided in the next section.
There are four main options when it comes to paying for care:
- You can get support from your local authority.
- You can self-fund your care.
- You can top up the funding provided by your local authority.
- You can be eligible for NHS funding for continuing healthcare if you haveparticularly severe or complex needs related to health issues.
Your Local Authority
If you are assessed as needing care, your local authority may pay for some or all of your care costs depending on how much capital you possess. To determine how much they might contribute, your local authority must carry out a financial assessment. This assessment is free and is at your request.
You can choose to pay for your own care in full, which is known as self-funding. There are several things to bear in mind when selecting this option, such as the value of seeking independent financial advice to help plan how best to spend your money, how long it will last and how to set aside some savings. This will allow you to plan for longer-term financial security when paying care fees.
It is also worth taking up a financial assessment from the local authority, even if you are certain you will not qualify for local authority support. This, in part, is so that you do not miss out on any assistance you may be eligible for, but also because these assessments should help you determine what kind of care you need, and therefore can be very useful when it comes to selecting your care home. Asking for a financial assessment will also facilitate getting help in the future if you need to ask the local authority for support should your financial position change.
During your financial assessment, do ask about benefits that you may be eligible for. Even when you are funding your own care, you or your family may still be entitled to other benefits, so be sure to claim them.
If you are eligible for local authority funding, it is often the case that their support does not quite cover the costs of your preferred care home. This does not mean you have to pick somewhere else. A third party for example, a son, daughter or friend can opt to ‘top-up’ the amount the local authority will pay in order to make up the difference, enabling you to go to the care home of your choice.
Some local authorities are reluctant to allow people to choose homes that require top-ups and may only offer a list of homes at the maximum price they want to pay, and in some instances may only offer one home. However, legislation is absolutely clear that you have the right to choose a home that requires a top-up if you wish to do so, just as you have the right to insist that the local authority finds you a care home that does not require a top-up.
NHS Continuing Healthcare
If you have particularly severe or complex needs related to health issues you may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. This service is fully funded by the NHS and will cover all your care fees (it can also be used to cover the cost of care in the community).
An assessment carried out by NHS and social care staff will determine whether you qualify for the continuing healthcare service. Looking at the nature of your medical issues, it assesses the complexity and intensity of the needs that result. You will only qualify for continuing healthcare funding if the assessment concludes that you have needs related to primary healthcare issues that are best treated outside hospital and that your needs warrant it. For example, dementia as a condition does not qualify for continuing healthcare funding but needs associated with cognitive sensory loss or behavioural problems will contribute to qualification if they are linked with other needs based on health issues.
If you are eligible for continuing healthcare funding you will need to bear in mind that the service is not awarded on a permanent basis. Regular reassessments will determine whether you will continue to receive funding.