How to Choose the Right Care Home

Author:
Lucy Alvey
Care Homes Legal Executive
Date:
11/02/2019

With around 1 in 8 adults over the age of 85 living in a care home and an ageing population, the issue over standards in care homes is a growing cause for concern. In the UK demand for care homes has risen by 9% in the last 8 years and is constantly increasing at a time when care home providers are struggling to recruit and retain skilled staff.

Despite these issues and concerning instances of elder abuse reported in the media, the overall quality of care is actually improving, according to the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England. In their annual State of Care Report of July 2018, the number of care homes rated as inadequate or requiring improvement had fallen to 17% from 19% in 2017.

This means that over 80% of care homes are providing good or outstanding levels of care. Whilst around 1 in 5 care homes require improvement, that figure is higher in nursing homes, with around 1 in 4 judged as inadequate or requiring improvement. Quality isn’t consistent across the country and as with other areas of health and social care, there are issues in certain areas with disjointed care or poor services.

How to Choose a Good Care Home

Unfortunately, many people won’t have the choice or the time to choose a suitable care home, due to either budget or emergency placement following an unplanned admission to hospital. However, for those who are able to make a choice, Age UK recommends taking time to find the right home.

With a shortage of care home places, it may be tempting to take the first vacancy that comes up. However, our advice is to make a list of local care homes, ask friends and family and check reviews and ratings on the Care Quality Commission website. Make sure to compare more than one care home and try to visit homes or even spend the day there.

Do Check Funding Options

Depending on your financial circumstances, you may qualify to have your care home fees paid for or to receive a contribution from your Local Authority. You should therefore request a financial assessment and keep a close eye on your capital if this approaches or drops below £23,250.00.

If you’re assessed as having a ‘primary health need’, then the care home fees may be paid for in full by the NHS, regardless of your financial circumstances. This is known as Continuing Healthcare Funding. In order to qualify for Continuing Healthcare Funding, your health needs would be judged as complex, intense or unpredictable. You can request a Continuing Healthcare Funding assessment through your GP, social worker or care home manager or you may be assessed on discharge from hospital.

For an initial consultation to discuss assessments, eligibility, recovering care fees already paid, or any aspect of the NHS Continuing Healthcare process, get in touch with our Care Homes team.

What to Do if you’re Not Happy with Standards of Care

In the first instance, raise this with the care home to allow them to address your concerns. If this isn’t effective, you can look at making a formal complaint to the care home or to the Local Authority. You can also inform the Care Quality Commission of any concerns. Finally, if your complaint isn’t addressed, you can approach the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

How our Care Home Solicitors Can Help You

Our specialist team of Care Home Solicitors can advise on issues including care home fees, assessment and funding; and with claiming back either care fees or care home fees that you have already paid.

We have recovered over £12 million in care fees for our clients since 2013.

For a discussion with no obligation call our Care Home Solicitors

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