Cash for care.
Here at Just Caring Legal, a solicitor’s firm specialising in the recovery of care home fees, we are all too aware of the fragile state of the residential adult social care market. This leaves us to question, how much longer can families be squeezed to provide extra cash for care?
It was confirmed in October 2016, in the State of Care report by the Care Quality Commission, the adult social care watchdog. The report concluded that the whole sector was at “tipping point” due to cuts to local authority funding. It also warned of a wave of care home closures in the near future if the crisis was not addressed with urgency.
Additionally, the CQC warned, this shipwreck of Titanic proportions was in danger of taking the whole NHS down with it. This was as hospital “bed-blocking” hit record highs. This was due mainly to the lack of social care places to which elderly patients could be safely discharged.
Need for action.
There are more calls for action every day. Next week the CQC chief executive himself is among those giving oral evidence to the House of Commons inquiry into Adult Social Care funding, which is looking into the financial sustainability of local authority social care and the quality of that care. We doubt his testimony will make easy listening for many of those living in the Westminster Bubble.
Let’s hope this absolutely vital inquiry comes up with some radical solutions – and soon. As government funding dwindles, it is elderly people in care and their families who are squeezed ever harder for extra cash to fill the funding gap.
The future of fees.
According to analysts, fees are increasing at a rate of around 10% a year. But cash-strapped councils are not increasing care funding to keep pace with these rises.
There have been a number of cases reported by the Local Government Ombudsman, who investigates complaints about local authority decisions under the Care Act, where councils have effectively forced families to pay extra out of their own pockets when their loved one’s care home fees rise above the level the council is willing to pay. Many are told: either pay a top-up fee or find your relative somewhere cheaper to live.
In most cases this is illegal. The LGO states a council must follow numerous steps before a top-up fee can be charged due to a fee increase. First, is a full assessment to decide whether the resident can be moved without detriment to their wellbeing. If they cannot, then the LGO is clear that the council should continue to pay the higher cost of care. When decided that a move would not necessarily be detrimental, the council must offer the resident an available affordable place. This is where no top-up fee is required and all of their eligible needs must be met. When no such place is available, the resident should be able to stay without a third party top-up fee.
If you are experiencing problems with top-up fees, we are here to help. We specialise in care home fee recovery. Just Caring Legal provide a strong and persuasive voice for families in complex dealings with councils over care home funding. We construct robust arguments to challenge care plan decisions and wrongful top-up fee demands on behalf of residents and their families. We offer strong advocacy and guidance through what can be a stressful time.
If you think you need this kind of help then get in touch today on 01915 561 078 or email [email protected].