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What is included in the cost of a stay in a care home?

When deciding if an elderly person should move into a care home, it is important to establish what costs are associated with their stay.  All care homes must provide a detailed contract and/or details about costs, even if it is partially paid by a Local Council.  It is also important to ensure that services provided by the NHS or Local Councils are not double-billed by the care home, and that the details of the contract are clear and fair.

What is included in the cost of a stay in a care home?
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Practical information

> Setting costs

When you make arrangements to move into a care home, it is important that you are comfortable with the contract terms offered. Whether or not you are paying for the full costs or part of the costs, you should always be given a detailed contract.

The contract should always include the following details: fees and coverage, security deposit (if needed), additional service fees, NHS nursing care contribution details, notice terms when leaving, charges for temporary absences, or charges in case of death.

> NHS and Local Council Services

It is important when reading a contract to ensure that any services provided by the NHS are not included in the contract. The NHS registered nurse contribution should not be included as it is paid by the NHS, as well as community health services that they provide in homes, and may include the cost of equipment that you need but that is not covered by your home.

Local councils also have the obligation to provide certain social services to people in care homes, and are established by the council based on social care needs assessment. The elderly person should not have to pay the care home for these services.

> Contract Details

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2009 created safeguards for the quality of care home contracts and payment of fees. The have set standards on contracts pertaining to fees, payment schedules, estimated care costs, supplementary costs, and consultation rights.

> Office of Fair Trading and home care contracts

The Office of Fair Trading, in 2003, set standard tests of unfairness for contract terms where elderly people pay part or all of their home care costs. Their base standard requires good faith and the equality of rights and obligations between the contractual parties.

Questions and answers

What services can be charged above the basic rate?Show

Each care home contract will be different. While basic services such as lodging, food and beverage services and some basic care are usually included, it is important for the elderly client or their friend and family to ensure that they are satisfied with the basic services outlined in the care home contract.

Other miscellaneous charges could be made for things like in-room telephones and televisions, excursions organised by the care home staff, in-home products and services such as soap, deodorant, shaving cream, haircuts and spa services.


Care Quality Commission (CQC)Show

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) ensures that hospitals, care homes, dental and GP surgeries, and all other care services in the United Kingdom provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, and can encourage/force them to make improvements.

Office of Fair Trading (OFT)Show

The OFT's mission is to make markets work well for consumers. It achieves this by promoting and protecting consumer interests throughout the UK, while ensuring that businesses are fair and competitive.

Specifically for the elderly, they have published Fair Terms for Care, a guide on how to ensure that care home provide the services they promise, and offer tools to challenge unfair terms.

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