09 Mar 2015

A question about : Who is supposed to underwrite/guarantee the care home fees

so my mum has been assessed as needing FT residential care due to dementia, she is currently in hospital and has a social worker assigned.

I have been no contact with her for about 8 years (there are reasons) and my sister lives abroad. There is a house which can be sold, and I have been asked to clear it, which I can do. I've been round there once to collect what paperwork I could find, to pass on to an appointed solicitor who is going to apply for a Deputyship in the Court of Protection. I also looked at 2 care homes recommended by and at the request of the social worker, and chose one. So far so good.

However - the solicitor won't sign anything for the LA guaranteeing repayment of any care home fees, until the Deputyship comes through - around 6 months?
The care home I chose has a scheme whereby they (not the LA) accrue the debt for the fees till the residence is sold, but Social Worker says they need me to sign as guarantor that I will repay the fees out of the sale of the house. Which raises various questions:
-what if the house doesn't sell for ages and the care home get stroppy?
-how can I guarantee repayment via a house sale, when the house, and any other assets, will be under the control of the solicitor anyway, so I am not actually connected to the ownership or selling of the house.
- more in general, how would an LA proceed in this situation if a person literally has no relatives around? (I know that's not the case, but in effect it may as well be)

The house might be worth about Ј250k and I saw that there was about Ј10k in a bank account. Nothing more, unless I discover something while tidying. i.e I would say dm's assets excluding the house are below the Ј14k level that I've been reading about.

Are the LA just trying to avoid offering a deferred payment scheme to mum, and hoping that I will take up the slack instead with my own guarantee. They don't seem happy with the 6 month legal delay either but surely this is standard?

Feel like we're going in circles with them, anyone got any advice about what I should do or say next? Thanks in advance.....

Best answers:

  • I would get in touch with AgeUK and be guided by their advice. They are the experts in this.
  • I think that some organisations try to foist responsibility onto people who do not necessarily have to accept it. I'd be tempted to hold back. On a side note, it amazes me the cost of such places. A BBC report today cited annual costs of Ј45,000 for a particular female. How can that be? A working man on that wage could easily keep a house, a wife and a couple of kids..
  • If you don't intend to have continued contact with your mother, why step in at all?
  • If you have no interest in your mothers care, ignore all "requests". They will be obliged to resolve these issues to avoid bed blocking in the hospital.
    If you continue to do what social services want now, they will expect you to continue to resolve whatever issues arise in the future.
    You don't have PoA, how can you agree what would be done with proceeds of the sale of a house which is owned by your mother?
    In any event, I would certainly refuse to be guarantor. This could be an open ended commitment which may leave you penniless.
  • Thank you to all who replied. Good news, the local authority has agreed to make a deferred loan for fees allowing me to be bypassed - which was the correct decision.
  • There is definitely a care home apartheid in place and i suppose,why shouldnt there be?
    As my work takes me around a lot.i can say i have worked in private care homes which are pretty poor. Residents all sat round a tv all day in high chairs..i remember being in a kitchen when food was being prepared and the owner telling off one of the staff for putting too much orange juice in a jug. It was the cheap stuff you top up with water. He wanted more water in it !
    I have also been in the deluxe version for the middle classes and better off. They are like luxury hotels with open spaces, shared areas, atriums, gardens,day to day activities..trips out.very comfy private rooms..i could live in one !
    Should the aged poor be forced to live in low grade slum conditions whilst the state pays a good amount of money and relatives sometimes have to top up and all to line the pockets of rachmann style landlords who run these places? Some are nothing more than dying houses,,places of extreme misery. I'd rather walk under a train (or similar) and i hope i have the courage to do so..
  • My mum elected to go into a private BUPA Nursing Home for 6 weeks after her fifth hip replacement - she is 84.
    The 'Nursing Home' charges her Ј950 a week which she has paid for out of her small savings.
    My sister visited several Nursing Homes prior to choosing this one for Mum - she was taken in by the lovely Reception area and lounge etc.
    After a few weeks, Mum could tell a different story - she is one of the few able minded patients there, so can speak up for herself.
    2 carers to wash 32 patients - she can't get washed till 11a.m, despite continually asking.
    She says that if they could squeeze another fee paying person they would.
    Supper is 5 p.m., nothing after that till the morning, despite the fact that she needs to eat little and often.
    She can't wait to get home - what about the poor patients who cannot speak up for themselves.
    I think these so called 'Nursing Homes' rely, to a great extent, on getting away with as little as they can do.
    AND, this is the private sector