Paying for care in Wales: complaints and FAQs

If you have a complaint, you must try to resolve it with the local authority, NHS body, care home or care company first. Find out more about this and read our answers to frequently asked questions about paying for care in Wales.

How do I make a complaint about my care?

If you have a complaint, you must try to resolve it with the local authority, NHS body, care home or care company first. Ask for the local authority, the local health board, or care provider’s complaints procedure.

If you can’t resolve your complaint locally, you may be able to take it to the relevant ombudsman.

It can really help to have written records of all your communication. Try to keep written confirmation from your local authority, care provider or NHS body of how agreements have been reached and how decisions have been made.

Funding decisions can be complicated. Some of the organisations listed in ‘Paying for care in Wales - useful resources’ may be able to help you understand the decisions and the process of challenging them.

Frequently asked questions

I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost a year ago, and it has been difficult to adjust to my diagnosis. At the moment I am managing most aspects of my life with help from my partner, but I worry that in the future we’d struggle to cope and I’d like to be prepared.

How can we know what problems might lie ahead for us?

Receiving a diagnosis is difficult and it can take time for you to adjust to it. However, you are doing the right thing by trying to plan for the future.

We have some helpful information to start this process, including booklet 872, The dementia guide: Living well after diagnosis. This has information about dementia and the treatments, support and services that are available. You’ll find information about how you can live as well as possible with dementia and about making plans for the future.

See also our Planning ahead booklet with information about how to plan ahead, such as appointing a Lasting power of attorney, and telling people what you want to happen in the future

Can I employ a care worker or support worker directly for my mum, who is self-funding, in her own home?

Yes. You can employ a care worker directly for a relative, and this can enable you to choose who you and your mum want and what they’ll do and when.

You will take on responsibilities as an employer. You will need to consider things like an employment contract and paying tax and national insurance, as well as pension enrolment and liability insurance.

It’s also important that you think about what you’ll to do to cover the care worker’s holidays or periods of sickness. There are local organisations that can help with these matters and guide you through the process. It might be worth talking about your options with your local authority or one of the organisations listed on our useful resources page.

If you choose to use a company or homecare provider (including for live-in care) you can still take a greater part in deciding on who will be working with your mum and what is needed. The company will manage the employment, including things like arranging cover if the care worker is ill or on holiday, for example.

My dad is moving into a care home and his local authority will be paying for his care. But he now wants to move to a care home near me in a different local authority. What happens now?

It is possible for him to move to a care home near you. Since your father is moving to another area voluntarily, the new local authority will be responsible for meeting his needs and paying for his care once he is considered to be ‘ordinarily resident’ there.

There can sometimes be disagreements between local authorities following a move regarding who should be the funding care. The best way to avoid this is to plan ahead
prior to the move. He should tell his current local authority of his plans to move beforehand allowing plenty of time. They should then send over any relevant information from his care and support plan to the new local authority so they can arrange an assessment with them.

If the new local authority has not carried out an assessment by the time your dad moves, they should meet the needs set out in his current care and support plan as far as reasonably possible until an assessment is completed.

My mother owns her home and is moving into a care home. We don’t want to sell the house. Can we let it out instead? 

Yes. It is possible to let out a person’s house to avoid selling it to pay for care.

Your mother would still be classed as self-funding, because the value of the home is still included in the financial assessment. Therefore, it is important that the rental income covers the cost of care, or – if it does not – that there are sufficient funds to cover the difference or an arrangement made with the local authority. 

Also, be aware that income from rental may be taxable and there will be expenses to consider, such as letting and management costs, insurance, maintenance and any income loss for periods when the property is not let.

If you take out a deferred payment agreement so that the house can be rented out, then extra costs related to the deferred payment will be incurred. The local authority may impose conditions related to the rental arrangements such as tenancy agreements and maintenance.

For more information see ‘Deferred payment agreements’ on 'Paying for care home fees in Wales'. The organisations on our 'Paying for care in Wales – useful resources' page can help you with information and advice on the best option for you.

My husband has been happily living in his care home for two years and self-funds his care home fees. If his savings drop below £50,000 and the Local Authority has to contribute to his fees, can they move him to a cheaper care home?

Yes, this is possible. Local authorities have a ‘standard rate’ they will usually pay to meet someone’s care needs.

If his current home is above this rate the local authority can ask for a third party top-up fee so that he can remain there. For more information see ‘What happens if I want to stay in a care home that costs above my local authority's limit?’ on 'Paying for care home fees in Wales').

You should seek financial advice prior to entering a top-up agreement as they can be unaffordable for many in the long term. Another home would need to be available and be able to meet his needs, he cannot be placed in a home which can’t meet his needs just because it is cheaper. 

If the local authority can’t find an alternative home to meet his needs within their ‘standard rate’, they must pay the top-up amount for a more expensive home. If you or another third party cannot pay the top-up fee, the local authority should carry out a full assessment of your husband’s needs.

The local authority must have ‘due regard’ to the UN Principles for Older Persons when considering a move. They should consider his social and cultural needs and how a move may impact on his health and wellbeing.

As he has been there for some time, they should also consider his ‘Right to a private and family life’ under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, as he may have developed important relationships within the home.

If they still propose a move and you disagree, you could consider making a complaint in writing (See ‘How do I make a complaint about my care?’ at the top of this page). Highlight any issues and where possible include any evidence from professionals involved in his care.