Nursing homes should be clear about the NHS funding they get for someone’s nursing care.
‘We’re choosing a care home for our dad and someone mentioned NHS-funded nursing care. What is this, and how will it affect the fees?’
If your dad needs a nursing home, the nursing care part of the home’s fees is paid for by the NHS.
NHS-funded nursing care is usually paid directly to the nursing home. It isn’t means-tested, which means it won’t depend on your dad’s finances.
What is ‘nursing care’?
While residential care homes can support people with things like eating, dressing and personal care, nursing homes also provide nursing care.
This can include help with moving or continence issues, or monitoring and treating medical conditions (for example, by taking blood tests or giving injections). Nursing homes always have a registered nurse on site to provide nursing care.
If you’re not sure what level of support your dad needs, arrange for him to have a care needs assessment, or ask a healthcare professional about completing a nursing care checklist.
How much is funded?
Weekly rates of NHS-funded nursing care are currently £209.19 in England, £179.97 in Wales and £100 in Northern Ireland.
The rest of the nursing home’s fees will be paid by your dad or – depending on his finances – the local authority in Wales and England, or the trust in Northern Ireland.
How does this affect fees?
Some nursing homes quote an overall fee that includes nursing costs. Others quote a fee that doesn’t include nursing costs, on the basis that they’ll be paid NHS-funded nursing care directly, which will cover these.
If the home’s fees include nursing care, these should decrease when the home starts receiving NHS-funded nursing care payments. Otherwise, the home is effectively being paid nursing costs twice – once by you, and again by the NHS.
Remember that, if your dad gets funding from his local authority or trust to help pay the fees, he wouldn’t usually see any change in what he pays when the home gets NHS-funded nursing care. This is because his contribution will be based on what he can afford, and the local authority or trust covers any shortfall.
How can I check this?
Before your dad moves into a nursing home, ask the home for a written breakdown of its fees. The breakdown should clearly show the difference that NHS-funded nursing care payments will make, now or in the future. This should all be made clear in the nursing home’s contract as well.
If you don’t feel that the terms of the contract are clear about nursing costs, or if the breakdown of fees isn’t clear, speak to the home’s manager.