Care homes - when is the right time and who decides?

5. Who pays for the care home?

Who pays for the person’s care will depend on the person’s individual situation. It will be based on an assessment of their needs and (in most cases) their financial situation. For some people, the local authority or the NHS (or health and social care trust in Northern Ireland) will pay the care home fees, and others will need to pay themselves. Sometimes it may be a combination of these.

If a public body (local authority, NHS or health and social care trust) is paying for the care home, there may be less choice than if the person is paying themselves. If the local authority or trust is paying it will sometimes provide a list of suitable care homes to choose from. They consider a care home suitable if it meets the person’s needs, meets the local authority’s budget and has a place available.

For more information on having the person’s needs assessed see Assessment for care and support in England, Assessment for care and support in Wales, or Assessment for care and support in Northern Ireland.

For more about paying for care see Paying for care in England, Paying for care in Wales, or Paying for care in Northern Ireland. For more information about NHS-funded care in England see When does the NHS pay for care?

Some people will be self-funding – this means they can arrange their place and pay for care home fees independently. This will probably also mean they have more choice over which home to move into, but it still might be limited. For more practical advice on choosing how to decide which is the right care home, see Finding a care home.