How are care home fees funded?

When looking at care for yourself or a loved there are many questions to answer. A big one is usually: ‘how much will care cost?’ and, ‘how will it be funded?’ We hope this will help simplify some of the complexities of funding in care.

What factors might influence how much I will pay for care?

The environment.

The quality of the environment in the home and amenities will have a large impact on the fee level charged. The amenities available, the size and aspect of the room and whether it has a private patio or not can have an impact on the cost of the fees charged.

Some care homes will command a higher fee as they have facilities such as a hair salon, café bistro and hydrotherapy pool on offer. Some homes with en-suite shower facilities for each bedroom may also command higher fees than those without.

The environment is important, but it is still crucial to assess the quality of care on offer within the home.

Care requirement.

The fee can change significantly depending on the amount of care required. Typically, a higher level of resident dependency will attract a higher fee. Those individuals requiring more assistance with mealtimes or personal care will cost more than those who require less.

The care home of choice will be able to determine the required level of care after doing a pre-admission assessment. This will then allow the care home team to provide a cost for the care.

Important to note that care homes will typically increase fee rates as care needs increase. At Principle Care Homes, we do not alter the fee level unless there has been a drastic change in care needs.

Location.

There is a strong link between the price of a care home and average value of houses within the area. The more affluent the location, the higher the fees are likely to be e.g., care home fees on average are highest in the Southeast where house prices are highest.

Who pays for the care?

The main factor that influences who pays for care is what level of cash, assets, and savings an individual has. If an individual has more than £23,500 in cash, assets, savings, and income then they are responsible for their own care costs. Those with less than this amount will be eligible for support for their care costs from the council.

If you are eligible for local authority support but you would like to choose a care home which has fees greater than the local authority are willing to pay, then someone can provide a third-party top up. They can pay the difference between the fee agreed with the local authority and fee being charged by the care home.

Will I need to sell my home to pay for care home fees?

The £23,500 threshold mentioned above includes for the value of an individual’s home. There are some specific instances where the house’s value will not be included.

If the value of assets including the house total more than £23,500 then it may be the case that the house sale proceeds will fund care. However, there is a 12-week property disregard whereby council support can be received to prevent the home to be sold with time constraints. The property will be disregarded for the first 12 weeks of stay within the care home if the other eligibility criteria are met by the individual.

In this instance, the local authority will only pay the difference between your assessable income and their standard local authority rate. If the property still hasn’t sold after 12-weeks, then the local authority could continue support through the Deferred Payment Agreement, but this has eligibility criteria, and the money is repayable once the property is sold with interest charges.

If there any other funding available to me?

Funded nursing care is available to any individual who enters a care home with a nursing need. This cost is covered by the NHS and the payments will be made directly to the care home and needs assessed on an annual basis. The contribution is £219.71 per week.

NHS Continuing Healthcare is for those who have care needs that cannot be met by existing universal or specialist services alone and it is not means tested. It must be proved that there is a primary health need. More information can be found on the NHS website.

Are there any hidden charges or is the weekly fee inclusive of all services?

Usually, care homes will quote fees per week, but the inclusive nature of the fee varies from care home to care home. Some care homes will quote a weekly fee which will not include many additional services such as hairdressing services, chiropody, newspapers and magazines, relative dining, etc. At Principle Care Homes, we provide an inclusive fee which covers many of these additional benefits. Factors which may impact the fees would be significant changes in care needs, room type and any additional one to one care.

Are there annual increases to the cost of care?

Yes, most care providers will have an annual uplift on fees either on a set date or anniversary of date of admission, the annual fee increase covers the increased costs experienced and providers usually give a months’ notice of the increase required. At Principle Care Homes we will typically increase our fees once a year on April 1st.

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