20 June 2014
The average cost of a UK nursing home is £738 per week – that’s almost £40,000 a year.
But many families struggle needlessly to come up with the cash in a situation where they may be eligible for full funding from the NHS – although few people know about it.
This is known as NHS Continuing Healthcare and is not means tested. It is based on assessments of healthcare needs, such as mobility and severity of conditions.
Specialist care funding solicitors Farley Dwek, which produced the new guide, estimate more than 150,000 people are entitled to the NHS Continuing Healthcare, but currently just 58,000 are receive it.
Gloria Hunniford said:
“Putting relatives in a care home or even paying for their care at home is a tough enough decision. It’s stressful and emotionally charged. But sorting out the finances to fund their care can cause a financial headache that lasts for years afterwards.
“The funding process can be complicated and not enough people understand it. Too many families feel as though there is a lack of help out there and are missing out on funding they are entitled to as a result.
“Farley Dwek is the first law firm in the country to put together a free guide and offer a service to help families through the NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding process. I am delighted to be involved to help raise the profile of NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, making it more accessible to families who are entitled to it.
“Farley Dwek helps people through the assessment process for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding and ensures a fair outcome for those who qualify. The guide will draw attention to this area of funding which everyone with primary health care needs is entitled to, regardless of whether they have savings to pay for their care or not.
“If your family has a Continuing Healthcare Funding assessment coming up it would be sensible to seek expert legal advice from the Farley Dwek team.”
Andrew Farley of specialist care funding solicitors Farley Dwek, which helps families secure NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding said:
“The problem is that the current funding system is unfair. It hits those who have worked their whole lives, spent their money wisely and put a bit aside for a rainy day. Families are spending millions of pounds on care home fees unnecessarily. They often struggle to secure the funding because they are given short notice by their local NHS to attend a complex funding ¬assessment meeting, in many cases they are improperly assessed or even worse not advised that funding is available at all.
“Crucial ¬decisions are made that could spell the difference between paying nothing and paying £700 a week.
“Free healthcare is a fundamental principal of our Health Service – but there are hundreds of thousands of vulnerable elderly people being forced to sell their homes and exhaust their life savings to pay for their healthcare at the time of greatest need.
“We are representing hundreds of families seeking to ensure their ¬entitlement to NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding is being properly assessed, or recovering fees on behalf of those who have already unfairly paid for care.
“It is important you get the funding you are entitled to and ensure that your relative is assessed on a regular basis.
“We’re delighted that Gloria Hunniford is helping us launch our free guide and get our message out there that free funding is available and we estimate that there could be 100,000 families out there who should qualify.
“In order to potentially qualify for Continuing Healthcare Funding there needs to be an assessment of the nature, intensity, complexity and unpredictability of the change in the individual’s health care needs.
“It’s important that official Continuing Healthcare assessments are carried out by the NHS – and are carried out fairly and accurately.
“This funding is also available for people receiving care at home and not just those in a care home. It isn’t applicable to everyone but should be considered by those whose needs are greatest.
“The system needs simplifying so that decisions within the NHS can made more quickly and more correctly.”
To download the free guide visit www.farleydwek.com or call 0800 011 4136