On this page we give you a suggested list of questions to ask a care home surrounding their fees and additional costs to try to avoid unwanted hidden charges. We also explain about the necessity of checking and signing a contract.
Care home charges
- What are the monthly/annual fees?
- What does this include and exclude?
- Are fees paid in advance or arrears?
- How are they collected?
- Is it necessary to pay an advance payment or deposit?
- If relevant, how are NHS-funded nursing care payments accounted for in the fee structure?
- How frequently are fees reviewed?
- How much notice will be given for fee increases?
- What happens if your relative is away, for example in hospital, for a period of time?
Potential additional costs
- What additional costs are to be expected?
- How are they calculated?
- What are the charges for phone calls or broadband?
- Would your relative be liable for their own TV licence (if they are under 75)?
- Does the care home arrange visits to/from, for example, opticians, dentists, GPs, chiropodists?
- How often do they come and what are the charges for this?
- If services are provided externally, will staff accompany your relative on these visits?
- What are the charges for various activities or outings?
- Are the contents of your relative’s room covered by the care home insurance, or would they need to get their own policy?
Signing a contract
Once you have decided on a care home, a contract for terms and conditions will have to be signed. This is always between the care home and the funder.
- If your relative is a self-funder, the contract will be between them and the care home.
- If your relative is being paid for by the local authority, the contract will be between the care home and the local authority.
- If you or someone else is paying a third-party top-up fee, there will be a contract between that person and the local authority in addition to the contract between the care home and the local authority.
The contract between a care home and a self-funder should cover such things as:
- the care to be provided
- the charges, including the notice period for any increase in price charges
- and the terms and conditions of occupancy.
Ask to see a copy of this contract before you make your final decision. Read it very carefully and ask a solicitor to explain any clauses that you don’t understand.
If your relative is responsible for paying part or all of their fees, you may be asked to act as a guarantor. This will also happen if you have power of attorney for your relative; the care home will discuss the arrangements with you for paying the fees.
- Care home fees: the latest average care home fees across the UK.
- Financing a care home: your options for self-funding, third-party top-up fees and eligibility for local authority support.
- Questions to ask when choosing a care home: how to ensure you find out about other practical aspects of the care of a loved one.
Page last reviewed: December 2016
Next review due: June 2018