Coronavirus Act 2020 & its impact on long-term care
On 25 March 2020 the government enacted the Coronavirus Act 2020. In an incredibly short space of time, a great deal of legislation has been changed and with immediate impact.
Specialist care solicitor Heledd Wyn explains the implications for those who find themselves or their relatives needing long-term care.
NHS Continuing Health Care assessments
Clinical Commissioning Groups will no longer be required to complete NHS Continuing Health Care Assessments. This means that those people who may be eligible for their care funded by the NHS will not be assessed for the time being. Therefore, by default, care will be means tested.
Local authorities are to be given wider powers to delay care assessments for individuals and their carers. I often recommend that people get these assessments done as a matter of course to ensure that the correct care and support is provided – but this is no longer needed.
However, it is important to remember that while these obligations may now be suspended or delayed, the concerns that those who need long-term care will not be going away. Getting the right advice at the right time from the right people will be just as valuable as in less extreme circumstances
How can a solicitor help?
A specialist solicitor who understands the care system can provide advice and support in the following ways:
- Care Funding Explain how the new means testing for NHS Continuing Healthcare will work and what you need to do. We can also explore retrospective reviews for NHS Care Act needs if required.
- Wills & Estate Planning Look at how best to structure the Will of a spouse when one of you requires care
- Lasting Powers of Attorney This is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people, to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. They cover financial and health and welfare decisions. Without an LPA, no one has legal authority to deal with any financial or business matters or make any decisions on your behalf.
- Advance Decisions Often referred to as a ‘Living Will’ allows you to make the decision now to refuse a specific type of treatment some time in the future. It lets your family, carers and health professional know your wishes should you be unable to communicate those decisions yourself.
- Court of Protection If there is no Lasting Power of Attorney in place and mental capacity has been lost, you may need to make an application to the Court of Protection in order to take control of a person’s finances and healthcare decisions.
Our friendly team of care planning solicitors regularly assist individuals and their carers to navigate the systems and processes surrounding long-term care.