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Most people would prefer to remain and receive care in their own home irrespective of any physical or mental infirmity. This is a principle objective of community care. However, in practice how much assistance you receive from your local authority social services department will depend on the extent of your needs for services and their eligibility criteria.
Commonly, many older people, their family and carers consider whether to move into a care home as an option. Residential and nursing homes usually charge on a weekly basis. The amount of the fee will depend on the nature and level of care provided, the location and facilities of the home.
In the event that you decide to move into a care home, important decisions need to be made. Such decisions may have unintended ramifications and so the importance of early, specialist legal advice, such as from a member of Solicitors for the Elderly of which we are members, can prevent or mitigate problems arising at a later date, leaving you in the best position to plan your care.
Legal issues relating to long-term care are expanding. Laws and regulations are rapidly evolving and becoming more complex.
There are occasions when the NHS is responsible for the cost of care. The Department of Health in England and National Assembly in Wales has set a national framework to assess and determine eligibility. If a person meets the criteria, then their personal, health and accommodation care costs (which may be provided in a nursing home or your own home), will be funded by the NHS regardless of the person's own financial position.
The NHS is responsible for the cost of nursing care in a nursing home provided by a registered nurse irrespective of the individual's own means. It is paid at a flat rate.
Depending on your resources the local authority may assist in the funding of care. How much and when are based on complex guidance. Whether you fund all, part or none of your care costs is not always clear and early advice is recommended.
You may need advice on the following:
- Should I be charged and how much should I pay?
- Is the care contract reasonable and should you try to amend the terms?
- Will your spouse or partner be expected to pay towards your care?
- Will your spouse, partner or other relative be able to continue to live in your family home?
- What assets do you need to sell?
- How should the assets be valued?
- Can you take out insurance to pay for your care?
- Are there any welfare benefits you may be entitled to?
- Should you make an advance decision setting out your health care wishes in the event that you become unable to communicate them?
- Should you update your Will and how can you pass on assets to your family?
- Can you continue to financially manage your own affairs and should you appoint another to act on your behalf, particularly in the event you become mentally incapable?
For specialist legal advice, please contact a member of our Private Client team.