If you are one of the lucky ones who funds their own nursing care you may be eligible for funded nursing care contributions to acknowledge the fact that the care you require has a nursing element to it. These have historically also been known as registered nursing care contributions.
These payments are made by the Department of Health to nursing homes in respect of the nursing care they provided and have been paid since 2001. When a person moves into a nursing home an assessment should be carried out by the care home to determine eligibility. The resident will not receive any form of direct payment if they are considered eligible. Payment will be made directly to the care home.
In 2016 the amount of the weekly payment was increased from £112 per week to £156.25. In future years it is possible that this amount will change again!
Anyone now receiving funded nursing care should receive this higher rate. You should check with your provider to make sure. When the increase was introduced a number of complaints were made about how the care homes treated this increase. Residents thought that the increase should be passed on to them to reduce their weekly fees and, in effect, refund should have been backdated.
It is important to look at your care home contract to work out what is going on with the funded nursing contribution as it is not always clear. You should always ask your care home whether your weekly fees are the gross or the net figure ie before or after the deduction of the funded nursing contribution. If it is ambiguous then you should make sure you query what the position is.
If you move into a nursing home you may not initially receive funded nursing contribution. The assessment may take place several weeks later. You need to check whether your contract clearly states the weekly fee payable, to include the nursing care contribution you should check whether it is the practice of the care home to issue a new contract to record any change and/or notify the resident of the change in fees as a result of receiving the funded nursing care contribution. You will need to ask whether it is their procedure to backdate any award or increase as a credit to care fees. Perhaps the care home will issue a new contract with one months' notice as to the amended fees following any award or increase.
It may be that your care home contract has been carefully worded to not pass on any increase in the funded nursing contribution. This can be accepted by the Ombudsman if a complaint to recover is lodged. If it is felt that the resident fully understood a clearly worded contract then it could be deemed that the resident accepted the terms and conditions.
You should therefore receive from the care home:-
1. A clearly written contract setting out what happens to the funded nursing contribution
2. Notification of any care fee increase
3. Details of how to complain in the event that you feel you are not being fairly treated
If you need any help with funded nursing contributions please give us a shout!