YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE
Preparing for long term care
People usually move into care because of failing health and increased dependency. If you are unsure of what your needs might be, then speak to your doctor who will advise you. It should be possible for you to visit a prospective home and, ideally, stay a few days.
If you, your relatives, or friends are able to pay the necessary fees in full, then you can make your own arrangements to go into the residential care or nursing home of your choice. If you need help to pay the fees, then you should get in touch with your local Social Services. You will still have the right to choose any home you like, as long as four key points are satisfied:
- You have been assessed as needing residential or nursing home care and the preferred accommodation is suitable in relation to your needs.
- There is a place available.
- The home can provide appropriate care at a price the authority would usually expect to pay or you are able to arrange a "top up", perhaps from a relative or friend.
- The home is willing to provide accommodation subject to the authority's usual terms and conditions.
If the NHS is to fund your care in a nursing home then you still have a right to choose the home you wish to live in as long as it provides the specialist care you require.
You can move from one home to another at any time and have exactly the same right to choose the new home as you did the first one.
People unable to make their own choices
If the prospective resident does not have the capacity to express a preference for themselves, the authorities must act on the preferences expressed by their carers in the same way that they would on the resident's own wishes, unless that would be against the best interest of the resident.
Your right to choose is written into law. If you believe your right to choose is being infringed you should quote LAC (92)27 to the authority.
Paying for care
If you move into a residential care or nursing home with financial support from Social Services then they will make arrangements to pay the fees. Your contribution to the fees will take into account your own income and capital.
RESIDENTIAL CARE HOMES
- These are run by councils, charities, housing associations or private individuals
- They provide accommodation, meals and personal care for the elderly
These are mostly privately owned, though some are run by councils and charitable organisations
- Care is provided by qualified nursing staff 24 hours a day
- They cater for patients with special needs such as those suffering from Alzheimer's disease or incontinence problems
- Are registered with the local Social Services department
- Have their facilities and standards checked regularly
Remember: a reputable home will welcome you to visit to have a good look round before you make your final choice. Choosing the right home could make all the difference!
Independent organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau and Age Concern are happy to provide further guidance on the current rules and your rights.