Advice on Finding Care
There is no simple definition of long term care. The help and support we may require in older age can range from the installation of a stair lift to assist us getting upstairs in our own home, to permanent residence in a high dependency nursing home. There are, of course, a whole series of intermediary requirements which may arise.
Our care need may vary over relatively short periods, for example after a stay in hospital and our requirements may only be on a temporary basis whilst our normal carer is away on holiday.
Whatever our individual needs, there are a huge range of care services, support organisations and voluntary groups to help us. Very often, the problem may be that we are not aware of just what is available and how we might access it.
Getting the right help will initially depend on the particular type of care which is required.
Benefits for Domiciliary Care
It is likely that a domiciliary care need will create an entitlement to Attendance Allowance which is a non-means tested benefit, payable to those who need to be helped. In addition there may be an entitlement to Pension Credit or a range of other benefits.
If the care is provided by the NHS, such as community nurses, then these are free of charge. If the care falls within the definition of Intermediate Care which generally means it is to prevent you going into hospital or to assist you when you have just come out, this will also be free for up to six weeks.
In terms of home care arranged by Social Services, each local authority has discretion about their charging arrangements. Any charges made by the local authority must be reasonable and reflect your overall circumstances. the Department of Health have issued charging guidelines for England, detailing the income an individual should be left with each week after care changes and that the full cost of care provision should only be charged if individuals have assets of more than the upper capital limit, excluding their home.
It should be noted that in Scotland, personal care is paid for by the Scottish Executive and any charges will only relate to non-personal services.