Ask anyone who's had to negotiate their way through the social care system and you'll find that working out the cost of care is about as easy as wading through treacle.
Assessment of need
Before any financial costings can be calculated, it is necessary to navigate several hurdles, including :
- Decisions about the type, and level, of care you need - be it Residential or Nursing care, Respite, or Live-in help at home
- Assessment by the Local Authority to work out if you will be entitled to help from the Council (or in certain complex cases, the NHS) with funding
- Finding out what type of care is available locally that can actually provide the service you require.
Local variation in costs
Then, unfortunately, it becomes necessary to take into account the variations that exist in the cost of exactly the same level of care in different parts of the country.
Which? the Consumer organisation have found that the cost of residential care can be as much as 33% more in the most expensive parts of the country compared to the cheapest, and Nursing home care, a staggering 46%.
In 2013-2014, the average weekly cost of a place in a residential home in England was around £557, and a place in a nursing home cost around £730.
To put things into perspective, that's an average of £29,000 or £37,960 per year in care home fees, depending on the type of care home - and this might have to be paid for years to come. Of course, this varies from county to county and the gap between average costs in the cheapest and most expensive areas can be as much as 33% for residential care, and 48% for nursing care. Actual fees for self-funding a care home may be higher, depending on the individual home.
Here we show the average fees by region. The data is taken from LaingBuisson's annual market report into the Care of Older People (table 8.2, 26th edition, 2013-14, www.laingbuisson.co.uk).
|Region||Cost of nursing care/week||Cost of residential care/week|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||£655||£489|
|East of England||£788||£604|
Help with costs
Which? quote market analysts LaingBuisson, who say that of the 401,000 people who currently live in residential homes across the UK:
- 44% are fully self-funded
- 36% are fully local-authority funded
- 13% are partially self-funded
- 7% receive full NHS funding.
Whether you will qualify for help towards the cost of care will depend on your income and savings. Some people with severe and complex needs may receive continuing care from the NHS free of charge, but most will need to undergo a means-tested financial assessment undertaken by the Local Authority.
What do you think?
The cost of care fees is a very emotive issue and a political hot potato.
We'd love to know what you think.
How much do you pay if you already pay for care? Do you think this is good value? Do you think all care should be paid for or is it up to us as individuals to take care of ourselves?
Please leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts or visit our Facebook page and leave a comment on there. We look forward to hearing from you.