Care Homes Solicitors

There can be no greater decision to make than deciding to move to a residential care home. There is a huge variety of options available and we are here to discuss all care options with you.Whether it is staying at home with increased levels of support, or to help you decide if the move is the right one for you. We will provide you and your family independent counsel to help you consider your options

We will use our experience and knowledge to help you choose the best accommodation for you. If this is your decision. We can provide assistance with Care home contacts, providing temporary care. And managing your affairs

We have specialist knowledge regarding funding care and NHS funded care.

Speak to us in confidence to find a solution that is the right one for your needs. For more information look at our guide to residential care.

Home Advice (some Pointers)

If you’re looking for a residential care home, there’s a huge variety of options available. There are permanent care homes for older people, homes for younger adults with disabilities, and homes for children.

Care homes may be privately owned or run by charities or councils. Some will be small care homes based in home-like domestic dwellings, while others will be based in large communal centres.

One of the first options you have to consider when choosing residential care is whether you need the care home to provide nursing care, or just standard personal care.

Consider other options for care first.

Going into a care home is a major commitment for your future – it involves changing where you live and potentially committing to paying a considerable amount of money for your ongoing accommodation and care needs.

Before you opt for a move to a care home, you should think about other less disruptive – and potentially less costly – options, including:

  • home care
  • help to live independently at home
  • a ”shared lives” or “adult placement” scheme – usually suitable for the needs of younger disabled adults (aged 18 to 64)

You should also consider whether you really need the amount of care on offer at a care home, and look at alternatives such as “extra care” housing schemes or warden-controlled sheltered accommodation. These options offer independence with an increased level of care and support.

Personal care or nursing care?

Care homes for older people may provide personal care or nursing care. A care home registered to provide personal care will offer support, ensuring basic personal needs are taken care of. A care home providing personal care only can assist you with meals, bathing, going to the toilet and taking medication, if you need this sort of help. Find care homes without nursing.

Some residents may need nursing care, and some care homes are registered to provide this. These are often referred to as nursing homes. For example, a care home might specialise in certain types of disability or conditions such as dementia. Find care homes with nursing.

Care homes for adults aged 18 to 65

There are also residential care homes that provide care and support for younger adults with, for example, severe physical disabilities, learning disabilities, brain injury resulting from an accident, or mental health problems.

They can care for adults with more than one condition, and some homes will have expertise in providing care for adults with alcohol or drug dependency. These care homes may offer permanent residence or provide care for a temporary period.

Residential care for children and adolescents

Some care homes specialise in providing residential care for children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or emotional problems.
Residential special schools focus on education and provide teaching on-site.

In some cases, care homes for children offer “transition” support for young people until they reach their early 20s.

Choice of care home

The law says that where the local authority is funding accommodation, it must allow a person entering residential care to choose which care home they would prefer, within reason.

Social services must first agree the home is suitable for your needs and it would not cost more than you would normally pay for a home that would meet those needs.

Local authority help with the cost of residential care is means-tested. You are free to make your own arrangements if you can afford the long-term cost. However, it is worth asking the local authority for afinancial assessment, because it might pay some or all of your care costs.

In the financial assessment, the local authority can only take into account income and assets you own. The local authority cannot ask members of your family to pay for the basic cost of your care. Read more about local authority funding for care and funding your own care.

If you choose a care home that costs more than the local authority usually expects to pay for a person with your needs, you may still be able to live in the care home if a relative or friend is willing and able to pay the difference between what the local authority pays and the amount the care home charges – this is known as a “top-up” fee.

However, if their situation changes and they are no longer able to pay the top-up, the local authority may have no obligation to continue to fund the more expensive care home place and you may have to move out. It is worth thinking about this potentially difficult situation when deciding on care home options. Read more about topping up.

Do not cancel your tenancy or sell your home until the final decision has been made by the local authority. The value of your home must not be included in the local authority’s means-testing until 12 weeks after you’ve confirmed that the care home placement will be permanent.

The Care Act 2014 is changing how people are able to pay for their own care, introducing the right for you to ask for the local authority to pay for the cost of your care while you try to sell your home. This is known as a “deferred payment scheme”.

Choosing a care home if you’re funding your own care

If you are funding your own care, you have a great deal of options, and you will need to do a lot of research on which care home provides the best options for you in terms of its cost, location, services, and a host of other potential factors. Read on for tips on choosing your care home.

One of the best places to start is by searching a directory of care homes with nursing, or searching a directory of care homes without nursing.

Choosing a care home if you’re having care provided by the local authority

After a needs assessment from social services, you will be provided with a care plan, which should make clear whether you need residential care and what other options, if any, might be available and most appropriate based on your needs.

Even if you’re unlikely to be eligible for financial help with residential care home fees, it could still be worth involving social services. The needs assessment, and information they provide, are likely to be very helpful in making decisions about care.

Tips on choosing a care home

Check the most recent inspection report to see how well the care home is doing and if there is anything of concern. You can get inspection reports by searching for the care home on the Care Quality Commission website or Ofsted for children’s care homes.

Consider the location of a care home. Is the care home near family and friends? Are there shops, leisure or educational facilities in the area? Is the area noisy?

Is the care home focused on the residents’ individual needs, or do they insist that residents adapt to their routine?

What arrangements are there for visitors? Can residents come and go as they please, as far as it is safe to do so? Are staff able to help residents to go out? Are outings arranged?

What involvement would you have in the care home? How would you communicate with staff? Are there any support groups or regular meetings?

If safety and security are issues, what arrangements or supervision can the care home provide?

Will the care home meet your specific religious, ethnic, cultural or social needs? Will the correct diet be provided? Will the right language be spoken? Will there be opportunities to participate in religious activities? Do they allow pets?

When you are choosing accommodation it may be a lifelong decision, so you may want to think about planning for end of life care at the same time.
You might also want to check what people who have used the care home say about it from online feedback and review services, such as those put together on NHS Choices.

Ask for a temporary stay in the care home before you decide. Temporary stays in care homes can also be arranged in certain circumstances, such as after a stay in hospital.

A good care home will:

  • offer new residents and their families or carers a guide (in a variety of accessible formats) describing what they can expect while they’re living there
  • have staff who have worked there for a long time, know the residents well, and are friendly, supportive and respectful
  • employ well-trained staff, particularly where specialist care such as dementia nursing is required
  • involve residents, carers and their families in decision-making
  • support residents in doing things for themselves and maximising their independence
  • offer a choice of tasty and nutritious food, and provide a variety of leisure and social activities taking residents’ needs into account
  • be a clean, bright and hygienic environment that’s adapted appropriately for residents, with single bedrooms available
  • respect residents’ privacy, modesty, dignity and choices
  • be accredited under the Gold Standards Framework for end of life care

An unsatisfactory care home might:

  • have a code of practice, but not adhere to it
  • fail to take into account residents’ needs and wishes, with most decisions made by staff
  • let residents’ care plans become out of date, or fail to reflect their needs accurately
  • have staff who enter residents’ rooms without knocking, and talk about residents within earshot of other people
  • deny residents their independence – for example, by not allowing someone to feed themselves because it “takes too long”
  • have staff who don’t make an effort to interact with residents and leave them sitting in front of the TV all day
  • be in a poorly maintained building, with rooms that all look the same and have little choice in furnishings
  • need cleaning, with shared bathrooms that aren’t cleaned regularly

If you move into a care home

When you go into a care home, make sure the management and staff of the home know about your condition, disability and other needs. They may have some of this information already – for example, if the local authority has set up the placement after a care needs assessment.

Moving home can be unsettling at the best of times, so when you move into a care home, it’s good to have it planned in advance and have family or friends around you when you move to make you feel more comfortable.

You should also:

  • contact the benefits office, if you have one (including disability benefits, as these can be affected by care home stays)
  • make sure other services at your previous address have been notified
  • let friends and family know your know contact details and when you might feel up to receiving visitors

Rights of care home residents

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the regulator of health and adult social care in England, whether it’s provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies or voluntary organisations. Under existing rules, independent healthcare and adult social services must be registered with the CQC.

NHS providers, such as hospitals and ambulance services, must also be registered. The registration of organisations reassures the public when they receive a care service or treatment. It also enables the CQC to check that organisations are continuing to meet CQC standards.

Standards for care homes are outlined on the CQC website. These standards are underpinned by regulations governing the quality and safety of services. The regulations are enforceable by law – the CQC can enforce fines, public warnings, or even suspend or close a service if they believe people’s basic rights or safety are at risk.

Care home closures

Care homes will sometimes close. This can be because the owner decides not to carry on providing the service in that location (for instance, if they retire), or because the home has been sold or failed to meet legal standards.

Proposals to close a care home can obviously cause great distress. If the care home is operated by the local authority, it has to follow a consultation process with residents and families.

get specialist legal advice in this situation.

We are here to provide this

The Care act 2014

The Care Act 2014 is a dramatic peace of legislation. It aims to modernise adult social care law and create a holistic framework for:

  • Clearer, fairer care and support
  • Well-being – physical, mental and emotional – of both the person needing care and their carer
  • Prevention and delay of the need for care and support
  • People in control of their care.

A new emphasis on well-being of the individual being the central aim of the legislation and the driving force behind care and support.

We at Paul Darnborough Solicitors are concerned that the act is capable of delivering all that it offers. Indeed it is the failings in delivery of the services statutorily required that may demand our intervention.

In plain English; what the Act says it will do, will be different to what it does. If so we are here to make sure the law is applied correctly for your benefit. We think the promise will be different from the reality which will lead to legal challenges.

To discuss it’s impact on you, please do not hesitate to make a confidential appointment to consider this evolving area of legislation.

For those with an inquiring mind we have attached background reading to this website;

Background Reading

The Principles

The Care Act was first published as a Bill in the House of Lords on 9 May 2013, following prelegislative scrutiny.
The legislation, which aims to modernise adult social care law, received Royal Assent on the 14 May 2014, becoming the Care Act (the Act).

The Act is divided into three main parts.

  1. Part One deals with the reform of adult social care and support legislation and is structured around an individual’s journey through the reformed system (be they someone in need of care, or their carer). The Act will put a limit on the amount those receiving care will have to pay towards the costs of their care, with a cap on care costs beginning in April 2016.
  2. The remainder of Part One of the Act, such as national eligibility criteria and universal deferred payments, will come into force in April 2015.
    In summary, Part One covers a number of areas, including:

    • the general responsibility of local authorities as enshrined in Section 1, ‘well-being principle’ • assessment of needs and defining eligible need
    • charging and the cap on care costs
    • paying for care
    • safeguarding
    • provider failure
    • transition for children to adult services.
  3. Part Two of the Act seeks to improve care standards by putting people and their carers in control of their care and support. It also provides a legislative response to the Francis Inquiry by increasing transparency and openness. The intention is to enhance the quality of care.
  4. Part Three of the Act establishes Health Education England and the Health Research Authority this has little concern for us at this stage.

The Care Act replaces a whole host of care provisions to unify the law in one act that makes the demanding area of Care law manageable.

Said Care Minister Norman Lamb:

  • “Until now it’s been almost impossible for people who need care, carers, and even those who manage the care system, to understand how the previous law affecting them worked. Over nearly 70 years it has been added to again and again and is out of date and confusing. The Care Act has created a single, modern law that makes it clear what kind of care people should expect.”

The Care Act 2014 builds on recent reviews and reforms, replacing numerous previous laws, to provide a coherent approach to adult social care in England.

Part one of the Act (and its Statutory Guidance) consolidates and modernises the framework of care and support law; it set out new duties for local authorities and partners, and new rights for service users and carers.

What does the Act aim to achieve?

  • Clearer, fairer care and support
  • Well-being – physical, mental and emotional – of both the person needing care and their carer
  • Prevention and delay of the need for care and support
  • People in control of their care.

A new emphasis on well-being

The new statutory principle of individual well-being underpins the Act, and is the driving force behind care and support.

Prevention

Local authorities (and their partners in health, housing, welfare and employment services) must now take steps to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support for all local people.

Integration

The Act includes a statutory requirement for local authorities to collaborate, cooperate and integrate with other public authorities e.g. health and housing. It also requires seamless transitions for young people moving to adult social care services.

Information, advice and advocacy

The Act places a duty on local authorities to ensure that information and advice on care and support is available to all and when they need it.
Independent advocacy must also be arranged if a person would otherwise be unable to participate in, or understand, the care and support system.

Diverse care markets

There must be diversity and quality in the market of care providers so that there are enough high-quality services for people to choose from. Local authorities must also step in to ensure that no vulnerable person is left without the care they need if their service closes due to business failure.

Safeguarding

new statutory framework protects adults from neglect and abuse. Safeguarding adults boards will be set up in every area Assessment and eligibility Anybody, including a carer, who appears to need care or support is entitled to an assessment, regardless of financial contact with the council, must focus on outcomes important to the individual. Any needs currently being met by a carer should still be included in the assessment. The local authority must then apply a national eligibility threshold to determine whether the individual has eligible needs.

Assessment and eligibility

Anybody, including a carer, who appears to need care or support is entitled to an assessment, regardless of financial contact with the council, must focus on outcomes important to the individual. Any needs currently being met by a carer should still be included in the assessment. The local authority must then apply a national eligibility threshold to determine whether the individual has eligible needs.

Charging and financial assessment

If the type of care being considered is chargeable, then the local authority must carry out a financial assessment. From April 2015, all councils must offer deferred payments and from April 2016, all people with eligible needs will have a care account to set out the notional costs accumulated to date towards their cap on care costs.

Care and support planning

A local authority must help a person decide resources. The assessment, which starts at first how their eligible needs will met through the preparation of a care and support plan or support plan for carers, and review it regularly.

Personal budgets and direct payments

A personal budget will form part of the care and support plan or support plan. Where a person, including a carer, has a personal budget, they can have a direct payment. From April 2016, self-funders with eligible needs will have an independent personal budget (IPB) to record the notional cost of meeting their eligible needs.

When will the Act become effective?

Most of the changes take effect from April 2015. However, the major reforms to the way that social care is funded – including the care cap and care account – will not come into operation until April 2016.

Summary

The Care Act consolidates good practice in statute as well as bringing in new reforms.
It should embed and extend personalisation in social care as well as increasing the focus on well-being and prevention. It should also enable local authorities and partners to have a wider focus on the whole population in need of care, rather than just those with eligible needs and/or who are state-funded.

For people who need care and support, and their carers, there will be:

  • better access to information and advice, preventative services, and assessment of need
  • an entitlement to care and support
  • a new model of paying for care, with a cap on the care costs for which an individual is liable
  • a common system across the country (national eligibility threshold)