Meeting the challenge of successfully funding the cost of full-time residential care placements can be a daunting and emotional journey for many people.
Despite ongoing reforms, clearly understanding how much you are likely to pay and what you could be entitled to remains confusing and can depend on a lot of different factors such as where you live, and what support you need.
A new guide from Caring Homes looks to answer those initial questions and was created after figures showed that 96% of over-65s have made no plans to meet their future care needs.
Confused about care costs? Click here now: http://www.caringhomes.org/care-home-funding-guide/
How much does care currently cost?
The average costs of care in the South East are currently around £33k per year for standard residential care, which can rise to around £45k for nursing care: compared to the North West where costs are around £25k for standard care and £35k for nursing care.
This was starkly illustrated in a study published last year by Caring Homes that found that care quality being delivered across England was linked to the mean annual salaries of individual counties. Surprisingly, it found that lower-earning counties often provided better levels of care than higher-earning ones.
As of 2013/14, market analyst LaingBuisson estimated that there are some 401,000 people living in residential care, with: 44% self-funded; 36% funded by their local authority; 13% partially self-funded and only 7% in receipt of full NHS funding.
What actually is the Care Act?
Current reforms in sector all focus on the Care Act: a new piece of legislation that pulls together all the previous bits of social care law. It sets out exactly what councils across England need to do to meet people’s social care needs, whether that is delivered through home care, part-time or full-time residential care placements.
What do I need to know now?
From April 2015:
- You now have the right to receive a free needs assessment from your local council, whatever your specific care needs or financial situation.
- You will now have a right to your own personal budget. This is a summary of how much the council thinks your care should cost, which can be useful for gauging private home fees.
- Your local authority must advise you more clearly on how the care system works and help you understand how to meet the costs of your care.
- If you’re paying for your own care, you can now ask the council to arrange your placement for you.
- Your council must also provide preventative services that could reduce or delay your need for care.
Click here to download a pdf version now: http://www.caringhomes.org/care-home-funding-guide/
What changes are still to come?
From April 2016:
- Your local authority will be required to provide you with a care account. This tracks the amount of money spent on your eligible care needs.
- A £72k cap on your care costs is being introduced to limit the total amount you will pay. It has come under fire from lobby groups however, as there are ‘loopholes’ in the criteria for how people qualify. It only applies when your eligible needs are considered to be ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ and it’s thought most people will not benefit in its current form.
- New rules about top-up fees in care homes are being considered and may mean you would be able to pay the difference in your fees. Top-up fees may apply if you move into a private care home that costs more than the council is willing to pay.
- If you’re not happy about a council’s decision on your welfare, you will have a new right to appeal and for your case to be independently investigated.
- What next?
If you are concerned about your future care costs and want to know more about successfully funding the cost of care, check out Caring Homes’ funding guide.