This article was updated on 15 June 2022.
If you or a loved one needs additional care, you might be worried about the cost to your family.
Unfortunately, the answer to how much care homes cost in the UK is not a straightforward one. There are a number of factors that could affect how much you pay for care home fees, and these can differ depending on how your care is funded.
In this article, we’ll go through the public financial support that may be available to you as well as the key factors that could influence the cost of your care. Read on to find out more or get in touch with our expert Care Homes Solicitors for advice tailored to your situation.
What Public Funding is Available?
It’s very important that in every case, consideration is given to whether or not funding from a Local Authority might be available. It’s commonly expected that funding for care is means-tested and so many people will not qualify, but the rules are complex, and an individual’s circumstances must also be taken into account.
Another source of public funding is NHS Continuing Healthcare, which can be obtained if managing a person’s healthcare needs makes up most of their care requirements - and it exceeds what a Local Authority can be expected to manage. This option isn’t very well known but it is extremely valuable. But again, the eligibility criteria is complex and it’s not always consistently applied.
What Factors Could Impact the Cost of my Care?
Care home costs in the UK have often been referred to as a “postcode lottery” and it’s easy to see why; from 2019-20, care home fees in the South East of England were at an average of £840 a week, compared to £582 a week in the North West.
If you’ve been told that you’re eligible for financial support through the Local Authority, where you live will also impact the level of funding you receive. But if you were to move out of your local area, the amount of funding you’re entitled to will remain the same. This can cause difficulties when people choose to move - often to be nearer to family - to an area where care home fees are more expensive.
In these cases, a relative or friend may need to pay what’s called a “top-up fee” to close the gap between what the council will pay and the total cost of the care home you’ve chosen.
- Your Care Needs
Care home costs are heavily influenced by the type of care you receive and the support that will need to be offered. For instance, nursing care homes are staffed by registered nurses and specialist onsite care staff who can provide specialist care, and therefore tend to be more expensive than residential care homes.
The availability of suitable accommodation can also have a big impact on costs, as demand could be particularly high and supply limited in some parts of the country.
In some cases, where a person is considered to have complex healthcare needs, NHS CHC funding may be made available to cover the cost of care home fees. Our Care Homes Solicitors offer an initial assessment where we can let you know whether or not you’re likely to qualify for this funding.
- Your Level of Care
It goes without saying that paying for care home fees is an extremely difficult and worrying prospect for families, and this can have a huge impact on future planning. You might be concerned that the cost of care will mean you have to sell your home or make significant financial sacrifices.
The level of income or capital you have should be taken into consideration by the local council as part of a financial assessment, also known as a means test. This will be carried out following your initial needs assessment and will consider:
- Pensions – both state and private;
- Value of your home – this won’t apply if someone else will be staying in the property, such as a partner or spouse.
If your level of income is below the threshold, you will become eligible for Local Authority funding. A personal budget will then be set for your individual care to determine how much the Local Authority will contribute to care fees.
It’s important to note that if you have complex healthcare needs that qualify for CHC Funding, your individual means will not be considered in the decision to provide you with financial support.
To find out whether or not you’re likely to be eligible for care funding support, get in touch with our Care Home Solicitors for an initial assessment.
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