Older people confused over care home feesThey need more advice and information

17 October 2007

 

An elderly couple sat in a lounge at a care home

The local authority will normally pay for your care only up to an agreed limit

Older people are paying as much as £30,000 a year for a room in a care home without knowing exactly what they're paying for, says a report out today.

Advertised fees for places in the same care home can also vary hugely - in one case from £650 to £1,500 a week - without a clear explanation of why some people pay more than others and what their money will buy. 

The study by Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) found that sometimes people paying for their own care can subsidise those people paid for by the local council, where councils negotiate lower rates.

It found that more than half of care homes - 22 out of 38 - visited in a study of 10 councils, charged different rates for people funded by their councils compared with those who paid for their own care.

Top-up fees

And in areas without enough care services to meet demand, even those people moving into care homes who are funded by the council can be asked to pay ‘top-up’ fees to cover higher charges.

The CSCI found that as many as 75% of homes in some areas required a ‘top-up’. 

The findings was based on inspections and research with more than 1,700 older people and their carers.

The report calls for access to expert, impartial advice and information for people choosing a care home. There should also be clarity about what people are paying for and who pays for what, it said.

Lack of information

CSCI Chair Dame Denise Platt said:  ‘Some people looking for a care home place are left confused about what they will be asked to pay, and what they will get for their money. 

‘Our research indicates that, by contrast with those supported by the council, people paying for their own care home place are particularly disadvantaged by a lack of information, support and advice at every stage. 

‘Such people also may have no chance to discuss other care options as they do not always have a proper assessment of their needs; half of those responding to our survey said they had had no care assessment.’