People usually move into care because of failing health and increased dependency. If you are unsure of your needs then speak to your doctor who will advise you. It should be possible for you to visit the home and, ideally, stay a few days.
If you, your relatives, or friends can pay the home’s fees in full then you can make your own arrangements to go into any residential care or nursing home. Contact Social Services if you need help to pay the fees. 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 that 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 and have exactly the same rights to choose the new home as you did the first one.
People unable to make their own choices
If the prospective resident is unable 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
Residential care homes are run by councils, charities, housing associations or private individuals. They provide accommodation, meals and personal care for the elderly.
Nursing homes are mostly privately owned; some are run by councils and charitable organisations. Care is provided by qualified nursing staff 24 hours a day and they cater for patients with special needs such as those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or incontinence problems.
Whether you choose a residential care home or a nursing home, all care homes:
- Are registered with the local social services department
- Have their facilities and standards checked regularly
- Will welcome you to visit them 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.