We helped Janet Baker to find a care home for her Mum six years ago. We were able to help her once again when, like many others, their money fell below the funding threshold which meant they faced unaffordable top-up fees

Janet Barker Care Home Top-Up Fees

Mum went into a care home six years ago after having a stroke. At the time, I had spent a long time searching for care homes and despairing about the lack of support, clear information and guidance. Then I was referred to Carehome Selection and given an adviser who became a life-saver; she was calm, knowledgeable and went out of her way to help. We visited several homes together and choose one which met Mum’s needs, providing the nursing and initial physiotherapy she required, but also a stimulating environment with plenty going on.

Mum is self-funding and after six years of paying care home fees, her resources fell below the funding threshold, which means you then have to pay third party top-up fees. It is a terrible situation: we were told we would have to top up her fees with £260 each week for her to stay in her care home and being pensioners ourselves, that was impossible. The social worker was helpful but told us there weren’t any care homes in the area that would accept Mum without top up fees. She couldn’t do any more for us except suggest we rang around care homes and tried ourselves. So again, I turned to Carehome Selection.

I spoke to an adviser called Jacqui who said “leave it with me”. She called care homes in the area where we live, Rugeley and in Brownhills, near to where Mum’s care home was located. She quickly came up with two homes that would accept Mum with a much more manageable top up fee of £50 a week. Jacqui offered to take me to visit one of the homes and so we travelled there together. The Matron was not there but Jacqui knew the home well and was able to show me around herself.

I liked the home, which is in Brownhills and is well suited to Mum’s needs. Nevertheless, I felt extremely worried about her having to move at the age of 93. We were due to go on holiday at the time and I was worried about Mum settling in while we were away; Jacqui even offered to go in and see how she was getting on. She really could not have done any more. We have the reassurance that it is affordable: the top up fees are paid by the council because they were unable to offer us anywhere which didn’t require top up payments.

Mum has been in the new care home for six months now and is getting on well. I imagine many families are facing this extremely difficult situation of having to move elderly relatives when their own money runs out. Once again, Carehome Selection came to the rescue and filled the gap in support. The social worker we spoke to was very nice, but they are very limited in terms of how much time they can spend supporting you. Whereas Jacqui told me I could call her any time, “day or night” and you know you have someone working away on your behalf who has a great deal of local knowledge and experience. I am very grateful for this much needed service and for the reassurance that you can go back to them again when new challenges arise.”


CHS Healthcare welcomes the 40 per cent increase in NHS funded nursing care payments to care homes

Dr Richard Newland NHS Nursing Funding

We welcome the significant 40 per cent rise in the amount the NHS pays to care homes for the cost of funded nursing care (FNC).

FNC is money paid by the NHS for the nursing carried out by nurses to support and care for residents in nursing homes (and care homes with nursing). The funding covers the nursing element of an individual’s care; it does not include other costs such as the accommodation and social care.

The standard rate has been increased to £156.25 per week (having previously been £112 per week) and the higher rate rises to £205.04 (previously £154.14), it was announced this week (July 13, 2016).

The changes are in response to an independent review by Mazars LLP, which recommended the 40 per cent rise. The increase for all eligible will be backdated to April 1, 2016.

Dr Richard Newland, chief executive of CHS Healthcare which provides the Care Home Selection service, commented: “This is very welcome news that recognises the extremely important work of nurses in care homes and the need for this to be properly funded.”

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, the largest representative body for independent care homes said: “The care nurses give in nursing homes is a vital part of our whole care system and moving to a more realistic means of funding this care is an important step in the right direction. We must now also determine how the FNC should be reviewed annually going forward.”

To qualify for NHS funded nursing care, an individual should be resident in a care home that is registered to provide nursing care. The individual will have been assessed to see if they qualify for continuing healthcare funding and even if they don’t qualify for this type of funding, they may need nursing care and therefore be entitled to FNC. If you would like your relative to be assessed for NHS funding, the best place to start is to go to your clinical commissioning group (CCG) or ask your GP.

We explain more about the different types of funding for care homes here.

Jacki Bishop’s uncle had complex needs, was in hospital 50 miles away and needed a nursing home place. Jacki describes why our help was crucial.

Jacki & Paul Bishop Find A Nursing Home

“Uncle Albert is 96 and has paranoid schizophrenia, epilepsy and advanced vascular dementia. He is incredibly independent and until recently, was living in his own home in Portsmouth.

Albert never married, but lived with his sister until she died four years ago. At that stage, we took responsibility for Albert, as no-one else in the family was able/willing to do so. It proved very difficult as Albert’s condition started to deteriorate.

About ten times during the four years, we arranged home care for Albert, which fell apart because he frequently wouldn’t let carers into his house and in the early stages, when he was capable, would cancel the care package. He wasn’t managing on his own though and would call me up to ten times a day and call the police up to five times a day because he was suffering so much from paranoia.

We live in Guildford, Albert is in Southampton, so it was a round trip of 100 miles to see him. I have two A4 sheets of paper full of contacts who have been involved in Albert’s care – social workers, community mental health teams, hospital staff, GPs, carers and pharmacists and not a single one of them was communicating with any of the others.

From February, things rapidly went downhill for Albert, who was in and out of hospital with two failed discharges. Every time the phone went, my stomach would churn anticipating something else had gone wrong. At a Best Interests meeting in March, we were told Albert should have one more chance to live at home and if that did not work he would have to go to a nursing home.

We felt that was already the case but didn’t know where to start. We explained that we were doing everything we possibly could, but didn’t have the capacity or knowledge to take on the responsibility of finding a home. Nevertheless, I was handed a book listing different care homes and told to apply for Deputyship.

After the second failed discharge and a period in hospital during May and June, we agreed that Albert couldn’t return to living in his own home and we were told we needed to find a nursing home for him. I am the carer for my mother, I work and we have other family members who need support and we live in a different part of the country. I felt utterly desperate and overwhelmed and explained I could not do it.

The next day, I got a phone call from an adviser called Bob who introduced himself and said he understood my Uncle needed a place in a nursing home. We had a good discussion about Albert and his needs and Bob said he would find some homes which were suitable for him and had vacancies.

Bob came back to me and explained he had called 30 nursing homes and found three that were suitable. He asked whether I would like to look at them and whether I would like him to accompany me. I said yes and it turned out to be enormously helpful having him with mee. Going with him took away the stress of having to locate the nursing homes and if I forgot questions, he would ask them.

It was really useful too because the three homes were completely different. The first was a new, state-of-the-art facility with beautiful rooms. But I couldn’t see Albert there – it felt too isolated and quiet and just not the sort of place he would feel at home. The second home was at the other end of the spectrum, clean but pretty basic and very dementia based. It would have been quite challenging for some visitors, although because I work in healthcare, it didn’t trouble me and of the two, it would have suited Albert more.

We arrived at the third home at lunchtime. As a dietitian, I was pleased to see the food was obviously home cooked and their eggs came from their own chickens. They also had an aviary with canaries as well as hens, kept rabbits and encouraged the residents to help in the garden in any way they were able to. Everyone was very friendly and I was told that residents are encouraged to leave their room and sit and eat in the communal rooms. The residents seemed very settled and similar to Albert in his present condition.

After seeing all three homes, Bob asked what I thought. When I told him I preferred the third, he said he thought that was a good choice. It was very reassuring to have him alongside me – not influencing or pushing me but helping me to have confidence in the choice I was making.

> > Find a Nursing Home

Ninety-seven per cent of families rate our support as “excellent” or “very good”

We are delighted that 97 per cent of families rate CHS support as either “excellent” or “very good” in figures recently published from one of our hospital based services.

The ratings come from recently published annual figures from one of our hospitals services for East Lancashire Teaching Hospital. Between April 2015 and March 2016, we worked with 698 patients and their families who needed to move from hospital into 24-hour residential or nursing care.

Our advisers supported them with every step of the process of looking for and choosing a care home, together with helping to make all the necessary arrangements. Our advisers work flexibly, which means they can support families during the evenings and weekends if that is the most convenient time for them.

A total of 59 per cent said our service was “excellent”. A further 38 per cent said it was “very good”. Only two per cent said it was satisfactory and just one per cent rated it as “poor”.

Rachael Hardbattle, regional manager, commented: “Any customer service would be extremely proud that 97 per cent of service users rate what we do so highly.

“We work very hard to achieve this fantastic feedback. This evaluation comes from nearly 700 patients and their families: it shows we consistently do an extremely good job for hundreds of families.

“This is the evaluation for one service but we achieve these high scores in our services across the country.”

Comments included: “The service was excellent, I couldn’t have done it on my own” and “I felt that having the advisers support was invaluable at such a vulnerable, emotional and horrendous time.”

We work in hospitals all over the country, helping patients and families who need to move into 24- hour care. We also arrange packages of care at home, enabling people to return to their own home after an episode in hospital and we also work with families in the community, who are concerned their love one is struggling to cope and needs more professional support.

Find out more about how we help people to choose a care home

Find out more about how we help to arrange care in your own home

C BARKER 7:33 am