How Chloe Smith helped a Professional Deputy manage a Safeguarding situation relating to the donor and the donor’s daughter, and obtain NHS Continuing Healthcare for the donor so that she could remain at home with fully funded care.
The Deputy contacted our Brighton office requesting assistance with one of his donor clients, Betty, who had become the subject of a safeguarding investigation by Adult Social Care. The Deputy explained that Social Services had accused Betty’s daughter of financially exploiting her incapacitated mother and a meeting had been arranged to discuss the allegations. The Deputy had a good relationship with Betty’s daughter, but his duty was to act in the Best Interests of his client, not the daughter.
Betty’s daughter lived with her and was her main carer. Betty also had some privately paid carers who helped her daughter, as Betty had high level needs following a stroke a few years ago. The daughter had been using some of Betty’s money to pay for her own personal expenses, including a new car, and she was not contributing much to the household bills as she stopped working in order to care for her mother. The financial arrangements had been suggested by Betty, before she lost capacity to manage her own finances. Betty’s Deputy was happy with the arrangements and the OPG had not raised any concerns when considering the Annual Deputy Report.
Social Services had adopted a hostile approach against Betty’s daughter and also against the Deputy. Their approach seems to have resulted from a privately paid carer telling Social Services that she suspected financial abuse, after the Deputy had tackled her about consistently arriving late for care shifts. Social Services indicated that they expected Betty’s daughter to pay rent and half of the household bills, or to move out. The Deputy was aware that both of these options would result in Betty’s care at home package becoming unsustainable without her daughter’s valuable input. In turn this could mean that Betty would end up in a care home – which she had never wanted to happen.
We provided the Deputy with advice on Social Services’ paying for care rules, including the rules regarding making gifts and allegations of deprivation – and how Social Services can treat such transactions differently to the Court of Protection. We also advised upon what may constitute financial abuse and how Social Services undertake safeguarding investigations.
We analysed the financial concerns made by Social Services to work out what had actually happened, why the daughter had requested money from the Deputy, and whether her requests were reasonable and lawful.
Chloe attended the safeguarding meeting on the Deputy’s behalf as he was worried that his attending may be perceived as a conflict of interests. Chloe’s analysis of Betty’s financial and care arrangements with her daughter made it clear that the new car had been bought in the daughter’s name so that she could take Betty out on trips and to medical appointments. The daughter’s life revolved around Betty’s needs, and because of this, she could not work and had no income of her own. As the daughter was an unpaid carer, it was not reasonable for Social Services to expect her to pay rent or to pay household bills. She used her dwindling savings to pay for her own food and personal expenses. The Deputy’s file notes suggested that when Betty was able to make financial decisions herself, these had always included the wish to reimburse her daughter for any expenses relating to her own care needs.
The safeguarding investigation was closed and the allegations of abuse were recorded by Social Services as “Unsubstantiated”. The Deputy set up a more formal arrangement with the daughter regarding Betty’s ongoing living and care expenses. Betty’s daughter was advised to apply for Carer’s Allowance and given advice on how the Care Act 2014 will affect her rights to support from Social Services as a carer.
Chloe also identified that Betty’s healthcare needs were such that she should be assessed by the NHS for fully funded care. Chloe attended the NHS Continuing Healthcare assessment on the Deputy’s behalf to put forward relevant points about the true extent of Betty’s healthcare needs to the Nurse Assessor. As a result, Betty was granted NHS Continuing Healthcare which meant that her care at home package was fully funded by the NHS. Chloe provided the Deputy with advice on the Personal Health Budget awarded by the Continuing Healthcare team so that he could pay the Care Agency using the Personal Health Budget, thus preserving Betty’s own finances.
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