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Behind the headlines: 'stuck in the middle' - self-funders in care homes

Author:
LOWE Stephen
Publisher:
Age UK
Publication year:
2016
Pagination:
8
Place of publication:
London

This short report looks at the experience of a growing numbers of older people who need to move into a care home and are having to pay their own way. It explains what this means in practice for older people and their families. It contains a sample, with names anonymised, from the 150+ calls Age UK’s information and advice line received in the year to April 2016, about extra charges and other contract terms relating to care homes the callers or their relatives and friends live in and pay for themselves. The case studies outlined in this report are organised around some broad themes: payments in advance; unexpected or arbitrary fee increases; paying for ‘extras’; relatives being asked to guarantee care home fees; relatives asked to agree not to approach the local authority when older people become eligible for local authority funding; giving notice; and hospital stays. The report uncovers the problems people face navigating a complex market and the difficult position they can find themselves in when terms change suddenly or in ways that they don’t think are fair. It also reveals the extent to which ‘self-funders’ are ultimately paying the price for a care system under severe pressure: on average they pay between £603 and £827 a week depending on the area, compared to councils paying between £421 and £624 a week. Furthermore, self-funders are still largely unprotected when it comes to being able to remain in their care home as they have no security of tenure and do not enjoy the protection of the Human Rights Act. The report calls on the Government to recognise the extent of the crisis in the care and support of older people and work with others to address it. The capacity of self-funders to go on cross-subsidising State funded care is not unlimited, nor is it fair to them or their families to expect them to do so at ever higher rates. (Edited publisher abstract)

Book

Commission for Social Care Inspection review of eligibility criteria: written submission

Author:
LOWE Stephen
Publisher:
Age Concern
Publication year:
2008
Pagination:
11p.
Place of publication:
London

Age Concern cites a number of examples where local Fair Access to Care criteria have differed from the national guidance in order to restrict eligibility still further. Age Concern recommends that minimum entitlements to social care should be set at a national level rather than a local level. The minimum level of care that everyone should be entitled to should be based on what is needed in order to achieve the social care outcomes set out in the Independence, Well-being and Choice Green Paper. Services should therefore be aimed at supporting health and quality of life, should aim to enable people to exercise choice and control and to make a positive contribution to their community or family, and should ensure dignity and protection from discrimination or harassment.

Journal article Full text available online for free

In need of an anchor

Author:
LOWE Stephen
Journal article citation:
Community Care, 2.10.03, 2003, pp.38-39.
Publisher:
Reed Business Information

Explains why human rights legal protection for older people is vital when they are transferred between homes. Looks at the case of Violet Townsend who died after she was transferred to another care home against the wishes of her GP and family.

Book

Government's pre-consultation: the case for change: why England needs a new care and support system

Authors:
HARROP Andrew, THOMPSON Pauline, LOWE Stephen
Publisher:
Age Concern England
Publication year:
2008
Pagination:
31p.
Place of publication:
London

Key points and recommendations are followed by an introduction, a description of the state of the debate at the end of 2008, and detailed discussion of three questions: What more do we need to do to make our vision of independence, choice and control a reality?; What should the balance of responsibility be between the family, the individual and the government; and Should the system be the same for everybody or should we consider varying the ways we allocate government funding according to certain principles?

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