As we are living longer the cost of care is something we are likely to be faced with but may not consider until it becomes unexpectedly urgent.
Choosing the right care option to suit your needs is essential. The Local Authority can assess a care and support need and both the NHS and Local Authority have services that may help you stay at home independently. Some of these services are FREE.
Care at Home
Quality care and meal provision, adaptations to the home and innovations such as stair lifts, sensors, community alarms, assistive technology and other specialist aids are readily available. Information and advice, advocacy and community support can all help provide independence in the home and a better quality of life.
Have you thought about asking for?
- A hot meal delivery, help with the laundry
- A pendant alarm or medication reminder
- Aids and adaptations to your home
- Some help with the garden, cleaning or personal care
- Information on local groups/clubs
Many people would like to stay at home for as long as they can. The Local Authority and NHS have services designed to support independent living.
Please ask for help, it may support you stay at home and prevent a carer from becoming exhausted to enable them to continue in their caring role.
Extra care/assisted care/ supported living/care villages
This may provide Independent living with flexible care services. Schemes vary and may be privately rented, shared ownership, owned properties or have a social landlord. There may be shared living schemes in your area which can include living with support in a family home.
Residential Care Homes
You may consider moving into a care or nursing home for a short time, for a period of convalescence or respite for a carer. A time of crisis may not be the right time to make a permanent move which may be premature or unaffordable in the long term. Be aware that needs may change and there may be other housing and care services and options that you didn’t know. If a permanent move is needed to manage your care needs;
Some homes provide help with personal care, others may provide care from a registered nurse, some do both and have ‘dual registration’ with the Care Quality Commission. There are homes that concentrate on rehabilitation and others that cater for specific needs for example; brain injury or a specific group of people such as ex service personnel.
Please ask for an assessment of your care needs from the Local Authority and make sure that Continuing Healthcare has been considered if your care needs are primarily health or medical as this will mean your care will be free and can be paid wherever you receive the care, even in your own home.
CHOOSING A CARE OR NURSING HOME
Thinking about moving into permanent care but not sure what to look for, what or who to ask? It’s worth starting with what is important to you and may help to consider these key points.
- Location – do you want to be closer to family, friends. How easy is it for a spouse/partner or other loved ones to visit?
- Size – Would you be more comfortable in a larger bedded property or smaller home with fewer people
- Local facilities – Do you want a paper delivered daily or need access to a bus, is there a resident hairdresser, chiropodist?
- Access – Can you or your visitors, pets move around easily? Lifts, stairs, wheel chair access. Public transport routes close by? Do you want Wi-Fi or a telephone in your room, can you get a signal on the mobile?
- Visitors – Are there any restrictions, can they stay over, and is there a visiting time, can children visit and/or stay?
- Grounds – Are they accessible, do you need your own space, is there somewhere to sit outside, does the home grow their own veg for the menu, can you help tend a garden or have a patio area?
- Security – are the grounds secure, what are the safeguards for you personally and for your possessions
- Does it feel clean, smell fresh?
- Are the rooms light and airy? Are there en-suite facilities if you want them?
- Is there enough space? Do you have private outdoor space?
- Can you have your own things in your room?
- Do the other residents seem happy, are they busy and motivated, are there any activities going on- is that what you want?
- Is there somewhere quiet to go for reading, prayer if you need that?
- Are the staff welcoming and friendly, are they interacting with the residents and seem interested
Meeting a care need
The home should assess your care needs to make sure that they can meet it before agreeing to a move but you may want to check;
- What happens if my needs change in the future?
- How many members of staff per resident? How does this ratio change from day to Night time? Is there a manager or nurse on site, can you have your own GP?
- Do the staff change frequently, how are they trained?
- What specialist equipment is available should you need it?
- What % of the staff are agency workers, speak your language?
- How will specific needs be met; religious/cultural beliefs, pets, pub!?
- What’s the menu like? Can your guests use the facilities? Do you have special dietary requirements? Can you have a fridge or tea making facilities in your room?
PAYING FOR A CARE OR NURSING HOME
Financing a permanent move
Everyone has a right to choose where they live but don’t forget to ask yourself “Can I afford this?” Your preference may come at a price and once you have found the right place it will become your home, the need for a move in the future can be devastating for everyone if you cannot afford to live there forever.
Paying for the care
- Will I be funding this care?
- Should I contact the Local Authority for a care needs assessment, to find out what type of care is the most appropriate for my needs?
- Do I need someone to represent me legally? An Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, Court of Protection Deputy…..
- You may want to consider financial advice from a SOLLA accredited adviser?
- Consider legal advice for legal management of your wishes and assets
- Would you be eligible for NHS funding?
- Will Funded Nursing Care Payment apply? How would this payment be invoiced by a registered nursing home?
- Check benefit entitlement as your circumstances are changing
Check with the Local Authority that you have an ‘eligible need’ and that the home does not cost more than they would expect to pay for your care need as it is possible that they will NOT cover the cost if your funds reduce. ‘We’ can help you arrange and control the care of your choice, for as long as you need it which may avoid a move at a later date.
- Is there a trial period?
- Can you see a copy of the contract; does it include everything you need or will there be extra charges for things like transport, hair, nail care, outings.
- What are the contractual fees during hospital stay or periods following death or a move?
- Top ups – if your funds reduce will the home accept your personal budget from the Local Authority without the need for a top and put that in writing?
- What happens if my money runs out or the needs change?