If you require urgent care, or are helping someone organise emergency care arrangements we can help advise you on the best way forward.
How can we help?
Emergency Care Advice
What are my emergency care options?
No-one likes an emergency or crisis. But they do happen. For example, someone may have a fall and injure themselves and require hospital treatment. We are fortunate in the UK that we have a national health service which is free at the point of delivery. As hospitals are geared up to providing acute health care, there will come a time when a discharge from hospital is the next step.
When will I not need to pay for care?
If you have a primary health need, the cost of care should be paid for entirely by the NHS. In many cases this should be considered first and you should seek advice about it. Please ask us for our information sheet about this.
There are other situations where you do not have to pay for your care including:
If a placement in a care home has been arranged as part of a package of intermediate (or reablement care where you are having short-term therapy or treatment, either following a period in hospital, or to avoid you having to go into hospital, it will be free. Such care is time limited and not normally longer than six weeks.
If you have previously been detained in hospital under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (this would be for treatment), your residential care may be provided as aftercare under Section 117 of that Act.
When will I need to pay for care?
If your care needs are ancillary or incidental to the need for accommodation, you will need to fund the cost of your care if your capital is over the threshold. You may be entitled to help such as Attendance Allowance. In addition, the NHS may pay a contribution towards the nursing care provided by a registered nurse, where you receive care in a nursing home.
If you do not have sufficient resources and you are assessed as needing to be cared for in a care home, you will receive help from the social services department of your local authority. Please note that social services only pay up to a “standard” amount and often there is a shortfall and families may be asked to pay. This should be resisted whilst legal advice is taken.
Much of your income will go towards your fees. Certain income is disregarded including 50% of your occupational or personal pension providing you pass the other 50% to your spouse or civil partner, if they are not living in the same home. You must be left with a certain amount.
What can I do to prepare for long term care?
Review your Will
If you go into a care home, it may not be sensible for your spouse/partner to leave everything to you in their Will. Instead it may be appropriate for them to set up a Discretionary Trust, enabling you to receive capital and income as necessary, but ensuring that this is not taken into account in any means tested financial assessment.
Consider jointly owned savings
Did your spouse contribute more to the savings account than you? In those circumstances, it would be proper for you to put more into their account than yours.
Review ownership of your home
If you own it solely, should it now be put into joint names?
If already jointly owned, you could consider changing the ownership structure so that if one co-owner dies the property does not automatically pass to a surviving co-owner, which may not be advisable if the survivor is already in a care home.
Make Lasting Powers of Attorney
These documents allow you to appoint people you trust to deal with your finances and property and/or your health and welfare in your lifetime.
If you lose mental capacity and have NOT already put in place an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney, no one has the legal authority to deal with your affairs or make any decisions on your behalf. The only way anyone (including a spouse) can deal with your affairs is to make an application to the Court of Protection.
This is a costly, time consuming and emotionally draining exercise for relatives which can be avoided with a properly drawn up Power of Attorney.
Consider an Advance Decision
In addition to making Lasting Powers of Attorney, you can make an Advance Decision (also known as a Living Will) to refuse consent to medical treatment.
If you subsequently lose mental capacity and your condition deteriorates in line with the circumstances set out in your Advance Decision, then provided your Advance Decision was validly made, the medical profession must respect your advance refusal of treatment.
Specialist long-term care solicitors
If you have questions about care requirements and don’t know where to turn, a specialist care solicitor can help. The team at GL Law have years of experience and regularly provide advice and support to those dealing with care arrangements. During this particularly stressful and worrying time, we will help you navigate the often complex care system and help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Contact our Care Solicitors in Bristol or London
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