UK long term care is facing unprecedented changes. On the one hand the costs of care are soaring, and on the other, ruthless spending cuts are being put into effect. How does this affect the care system and what does the future hold in store for long term care UK? Let us consider what the Dilnot Report suggests with a view for reform of social care funding.
In July 2011 the Dilnot Report was released. This report addresses how the funding system for adult social care in England can be reformed in the face of the changing social and financial circumstances of the nation. The report was a result of the work of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, an independent body commissioned by the government to review the funding system for social care in England.
The fact that individual contributions to long term care are potentially unlimited at the moment creates a daunting prospect for most people. Long term care costs can be high particularly for residential care and especially when considered over time. It is not uncommon for people to lose their entire life savings and even their home in the process of paying for their own care.
The report suggests that a cap be placed on how much an individual should spend on their own care – following which the state would fully fund long term care for the individual. The report suggests that this cap be put at around £35,000, after which the individual should be entitled for full state support.
As per the current means test, anyone with assets above the threshold of £23,250 are expected to pay for their own care. This means that those with the relatively modest assets above £23,250 lost a larger proportion of their lifetime savings and capital then more well off individuals with much larger assets.
The Dilnot Report suggests that the means test upper threshold should be quadrupled to £100,000. It suggests, however, that this only be applied to residential care and not home based long term care. This means that if you are in long term care in a residential care home, your means test threshold will be different than for those who require care at home.
The Dilnot Report also acknowledges that as a society we currently have very little knowledge of how the social care system works. The report therefore proposes awareness campaigns among communities. It also acknowledges the significance of family and informal carers in the context of long term care and suggests additional legal rights for carers.