The care system in the UK sets out those that are in need of either temporary or permanent care receive it. Long term care can mean anything from assisted living to ongoing therapeutic care. The agencies involved in providing care and who pays for the care depends on the type of care required and the circumstances of those who need it.
The NHS has a system known as continuing healthcare and provides this free of charge to those who need it. Any costs of care for those who are eligible for continuing healthcare are met by the NHS. Continuing care can be provided in any setting agreed upon by the individual, the local council and the NHS. Therefore, if you’re eligible to receive fully funded continuing care from the NHS, this may also cover care home fees and other care services such as specialist therapy etc.
The local council does a means assessment for those who need care and are not entitled to NHS continuing care. The means test assesses your income and capital to decide whether you are entitled to any help and if so, whether you need to contribute towards your care costs. The threshold for full, part or no state funding are set each year.
At the moment, the upper threshold for council help with care is £23,250 – above which you are expected to self fund care entirely. Those with a combined income and capital between £14,250 to £23,250 are expected to contribute something towards their care costs. Those with wealth below the lower threshold of £14,250 are helped with all costs of care.
If it is established that you need to contribute towards your care – how much you are expected to contribute is calculated based on your income and the cost of care you need. Where care will be received is worked out between the individual and the social services department. If the council is paying for your care and you prefer a different, more expensive care home, any difference in the cost will need to be ‘topped up’ by you.
Care home fees include living rent, and other facilities offered at the residential home. It does not however include personal expenses, cost of any trips or phone calls etc. If you’re receiving care in a care home, and your care plan includes a component of nursing care – this may be funded by the NHS. Combination funding packages for long term care are not uncommon and depend on individual circumstances and requirements.