If a person enters a residential care home, there are various funding options available.
Firstly, consideration will need to be given as to whether Continuing Healthcare Funding is available. There is a national framework for assessing someone for Continuing Healthcare and if a person’s primary need is nursing care, the cost of care will be paid for by the NHS. This type of funding is not means tested and is based on need. In particular, if a person is discharged from hospital straight into care, they should be assessed before discharge. The process of applying for Continuing Healthcare funding can be involved and complex, but help would be available from professional advisors. It is often helpful if the elderly person has an attorney to assist in this process and if a power of attorney has not been set up previously, consideration should be given as to whether one can now be set up.
If a person is not eligible for Continuing Healthcare they will be privately funded if they hold capital assets of more than £23,250. Certain assets will be disregarded in an assessment – for example, if a surviving spouse continues to live in the matrimonial home, the house will be completely disregarded.
If assets are worth less than £23,250, or if the cost of care has reduced them down to this figure, an application can be made to the Local Authority for funding. An assessment by the Local Authority is means tested and based on the available capital and income of the person being assessed. Again, it is often important to consider seeking professional advice to ensure that the correct funding is made available.
Even if a person enters a home as a privately funded person, or with support of the Local Authority, consideration should be given over time as to whether a Continuing Healthcare Assessment is appropriate. If the person has a deteriorating condition or when their care needs are formally reviewed, an assessment ought to be carried out to ascertain whether they are now eligible for continuing care.
Caption: Donna Bothamley