Breaking down the “Care Cap”

By Rosalyn Armstrong

Most of you will have at least heard about the proposals announced by the Government last week to revise funding for adult social care, and address the NHS backlog. We don’t wish to produce yet another summary of the changes, but have enclosed a very useful document produced by My Care Consultant. We wanted to look at the possible implications of the changes, which remain to be clarified on some issues.

How Things are Now

Currently peoples’ assets and income are considered by Adult social Services to assess if they should make a contribution to care costs. There are limits below which no contribution is required, but in practice most families who know they’ll need to self fund, don’t bother involving Adult Social Services as they know there will be no offer of funding. However this often takes away the support that could be afforded to them in future, as Social Services are experienced in, and know what assistance patients are entitled to.

We know of a case where a terminally ill patient was funding their own care, when NHS funding (see below) would actually be available. Every adult, under the Care Act of 2014, is entitled to a Care Assessment. Depending on the outcome, the patient may be directed towards a financial assessment, or be offered ancillary services such as an Occupational Therapist. Patients are advised to either have care at home, or to go into residential care. This is where many families might disagree with the outcome and send their relatives into residential care, and self-fund.

NHS Funding

I think a large percentage of the population are not aware that if someone’s health situation has deteriorated to the point that their primary need is nursing care, the NHS then fund care (after a panel assessment of the case) on a non means tested basis known as Continuing Health Care (CHC) funding.

How Might it Look?

We are still not clear whether the care “cap” will cover only the cost of care, or include food and accommodation costs. However, a care cap will need to be monitored per case. This means that it might well be advisable for families to request a care assessment to establish a “starting point” and get the clock ticking over monitoring amounts spent on care costs. This will involve a good deal of administrative input by local authorities and an upsurge in care assessments. Whether families will have the option to use, and fund, an Independent Social Worker, remains also to be seen. Cases are usually urgent and waiting times critical before a patient is at risk in their own home.

The Need for Advice

Our advice service to families is holistic, looking at all aspects of a relative's care, and signposting clients to the relevant professionals where specialised help is needed (eg. Capacity Assessments, LPA’s and wills). We feel that the need for advice and support will increase despite the fact that a cap on care is essentially good news. If you, or anyone you know is struggling to navigate the system, please don’t hesitate to contact Rosalyn Armstrong on 07982 833 713, or by emailing rosalyn.armstrong@prosperitywealth.com.

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