Chris Moon-Willems founder of RelativeMatters.org says: “Throughout my long career in Social Services and the NHS I came across many older people and their relatives, who were dismayed to learn that they were not entitled to financial help from the NHS or Social Services to fund their care. So let’s begin by destroying the myth that health and social care is free. Most people will have to pay for all, or some of their care at home or in a care or nursing home. As Local Authorities reel from massive funding cuts and struggle to meet increasing demands from an ageing population, funding entitlement has become a postcode lottery as eligibility criteria are changed or interpretation of the rules tightened.
Older people will not receive any financial help from Social Services if they;
- have savings, investments or assets ( including their property) above the current limit of £23,250.
- are considered to have enough income to pay for their own care.
- do not have high enough care needs to meet their tightened eligibility criteria.
Neither are they likely to receive help to arrange care if they are able to do this themselves or have a relative who is willing or able to do so on their behalf.
For those people who are eligible for social care funding, only their basic needs will be met and they may have to contribute towards the cost, in some cases quite significantly. If a person’s money runs out and Social Services has to take over funding care fees, the elderly person may have to move into a smaller room in their care home or move to another home altogether if the home refuses to lower their fees to the maximum that Social Services are willing to pay. While the eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding has always been restricted to those with the highest, most complex, unpredictable, and unstable health needs, the interpretation of the eligibility criteria has become tighter and the same applies to the Registered Nurse Care Contribution (RNCC).
The care landscape is changing rapidly and new legislation is on the way. As Social Services and the NHS seek new ways to meet the demands of the ageing population, having to do more with less will be their mantra and you will be expected to play an even bigger role in caring for your loved ones. It is therefore vital that you understand and anticipate realistic funding entitlements to enable you to help your elderly parent plan their care. Check to see whether Social Services or the NHS might contribute towards the costs.
Without this information you might make misguided decisions about your parents’ care and support and how to fund it. You can find out more at http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/3 In my next post I will look at how independent financial planning can benefit you and your parents and help you make the best care choices for and with them.”