It may be advised that your relative’s care needs are more than what can be provided in a residential care home and a nursing home is the alternative. If your relative enters a nursing home, the first thing you should do is request a NHS Checklist to be undertaken to determine whether the NHS should fund the cost of their care.
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There may be a time when an elderly relative can no longer look after themselves in their own home. If your relative has a health need then it is likely that a nursing home will be suggested (some care homes have both residential and nursing elements).
In relation to paying for care fees, this will be decided by the completion of an NHS Continuing Healthcare Checklist. If a positive result is obtained, a full Decision Support Tool is completed, and finally the primary health need test is applied.
If it is decided that your relative has a primary care need (rather than a social need) then the NHS will meet the entire cost of care. However, if it is decided that your relative’s care needs do not exceed the threshold for continuing healthcare then they will be expected to meet the cost of their care (means tested). The NHS may pay a proportion towards the care, knowing as Registered Nursing Care Contribution (RNCC).
There are many types of nursing care homes available. These include permanent care, or temporary care. Nursing homes can be privately owned, run by the voluntary sector or the local authority.
Nursing homes are usually for people who need 24 hour support, and regular care tasks undertaken, or supervised by a qualified nurse. If your relative requires two people to help them transfer (eg from a bed to a chair) then a nursing home may be required due to the higher staffing levels. Nursing tasks include things such as dressings, injections, monitoring pressure sores. In a nursing home there will always be a qualified nurse on duty.
A residential care home provides more social care to the residents, such as assisting with day to day tasks and the residents do not really have health issues.
A nursing home becomes a valuable option when the amount of medical care that a person needs cannot be provided at home. Problems such as frequent incontinence, dangerous wandering or agitation can be difficult to manage. If so, it may be time to consider placement in a nursing home.
You can play an important role in assuring your relative receives good care by actively involving yourself during the transition from their home to a nursing home. You should be present as your relative’s representative during the consultants and meetings with the nursing home.
Finding the right nursing home takes time. It is important to begin the search for a suitable nursing home well in advance of seeking admission. There is often long waiting periods for available accommodation. Planning ahead can make the transition of moving into a nursing home much easier.
If your relative is not eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare, but they reside in a nursing home they may be eligible for NHS-funded nursing care. This means that the NHS will pay a contribution towards their nursing home fees, often known as the Registered Nursing Care Contribution.
The assessment for NHS-funded nursing care should be done automatically when someone moves into a nursing home, but this can be overlooked. Currently NHS-funded nursing care is £108.70 per week in England.
Prior to September 2007, there was a three tiered system for nursing care. Anyone who was on the highest band of NHS funded nursing care can continue to receive this until their circumstances change.