Paying for care

13. Care home fees for self-funders

If someone is classed as a self-funder and is paying for their own care home fees, they can approach a care home directly and agree the financial arrangements together. However, they may still wish to have a needs assessment by the local authority.

The local authority must provide information and advice to everyone, even if a needs assessment finds that they are not eligible for care and support at this time. This includes self-funders to help them to prepare for any support needs in the future. The intention is to support the person's wellbeing and help them to plan so they can reduce or delay the need for further care or hospitalisation in the future.

Part 2 of the Care Act to be introduced in April 2016 will introduce a cap on care costs. It is important for people who are self-funding, as well as those who are funded by the local authority, to have a needs assessment so that the local authority knows what the person's eligible care needs are and how much has been paid towards meeting them. This figure will count towards the cap on care costs and it is important that the local authority (and individuals) keep a record of it.

Other points to note for self-funders:

  • The local authority will only help with future care home fees if a person's funds run out and it has assessed the person as needing care in a care home.
  • A needs assessment will provide information about the type of care needed and the options available. This information may help people who are self-funding to decide whether the care home they are considering is appropriate.
  • If the person is assessed as needing to be in a care home and is unable to make the necessary arrangements, the local authority has a duty to make arrangements for them, though there may be a cost for this.
  • If the person with dementia has not been assessed when they move into a care home, it is important to make sure a needs assessment is arranged (by a carer or care home manager) before their savings get
    too low.
  • If the person is making their own arrangements with the care home, or if a relative is doing this, they need to ensure that they are given a contract detailing the home's obligations and fees. It is important to be clear about the services that are included in the fees, what may be charged as 'extras', and how much notice is given if fees will increase.
  • If a person is paying part or all of their own fees, the carer or family member should make sure they are claiming all the benefits to which they are entitled.
  • If the home chosen provides nursing care, the person will need to have their nursing needs assessed. The care home manager could be asked to arrange this or the GP could be asked to set this in motion. This is because the NHS can fund care provided by a registered nurse for those assessed as having such a need (see 'Nursing care costs' above).