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Admission to a Care Home

Admitting an elderly or ageing person into a care home, especially for the first time, is an important step for them to enjoy their retirement.  It is essential to ensure that all the important details have been taken care of, including a close examination of the home, the contract, and the arrangement for paying for the elderly person's stay.

Admission to a Care Home
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Practical information

> Choosing a Care Home

Elderly people have the right to choose their retirement home, and no one can tell the person where to live. They have the right to move into any home as long as it has the space available, is suitable for their needs, that the home has a contractual relationship with the local authority, and that the costs associated with the home are within local council standards for payment.

There are many questions that an elderly person should ask when choosing their care home, from where the building is located, the types of services it offers, and the different care options available. Most importantly, the financial arrangements must be clear for the elderly person – make sure that the contract is read and agreed to.

> Arranging payment for home care fees

When a Local Council arranges for the stay of an elderly person in a care home, it is responsible for paying the agreed fee to the provider. Payment arrangements must be made between the elderly person and the Local Council, and may mean that the Local Council pays in full the fee and then collects the assessed fee from the elderly person, or that the elderly person and the Local Council each pay their portion to the care home. The choice should be left up to the elderly person.

When the elderly person's home care is covered by the NHS through continuing healthcare, it is important for that person to have the option considered by the Local Council when it establishes their needs.

It is also important that, when being admitted to a care home, all costs that are to be covered by the NHS and Local Councils should not be part of the payment fee. Above all, the elderly person must read the contract, terms and conditions or the detailed description of their stay before agreeing to a payment structure.

Questions and answers

What should be verified in a contract before signing it?Show

It is important that an elderly person take care before signing a contract with a care home. It is important to ask the right types of questions. A potential resident should have access to brochures and written contracts before they sign.

All fees, both included and supplementary, should be clearly identified. How are payments made? Are NHS/Local Council services identified in the contract? What type of notice is necessary in case of departure (sickness/death)? Are their valuables insured?

What type of non-financial questions should an elderly person ask when visiting a care home?Show

There are three general groups or areas of questions when visiting a care home.

What about the building and location? Is it close to the amenities an elderly person could need? Is there public transportation available? Is the home located in a busy area? Is the building well maintained, both inside and out? Are the rooms and common areas accessible and well taken care of?

Does the home offer daily services? Is there mobile phone and internet access? Are daily events programmed by staff? Can the elderly get access to religious services or service in their language? Are pets allowed? What is the food like? Are the building and grounds easily accessible and secure for daily movement?

Can the home offer the elderly person the type of care they need? Is the home registered for the right types of services and does it have the right trained and number of staff? If the patient is suffering from signs of Alzheimer's, can the home adequately care for them? Does the home have the required infrastructure to offer appropriate care services? What types of special care can they offer?

Will a resident continue to pay for services in absent for a short period?Show

A resident that must leave for, say, a short hospital stay, may have fees associated with their absence. This will be clearly stated in the contract that was signed between the resident and the care home.


NHS Continuing Healthcare Show

To be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare, the elderly person must be assessed as having a "primary health need" and have a complex medical condition and substantial and ongoing care needs.

If the elderly person is granted continuing healthcare, all costs associated with their care (whether in a care home, nursing home or in their own home) are covered by the NHS.

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