How Clare English, Community Care Lawyer, secured full care home funding, without a top up, so a couple married for over 60 years could see each other every day
Matthew and Grace have been married for 60 years. Matthew suffers from dementia and until recently was cared for at home by Grace. When his care needs became too extensive to manage at home, Matthew’s family arranged for him to have a respite stay in a care home close to the marital home so that Matthew and Grace could see each other every day. Social Services assessed Matthew’s needs and advised that his placement should become permanent.
They told Matthew’s family that the fees charged by the care home exceeded the Local Authority usual rate and that if they wanted him to remain there then a substantial third party top-up would be required.
Social Services suggested two alternative placements, which did not require a third party top-up of Local Authority funding. Both were some distance from the marital home and Grace could not drive, so visiting would be very difficult. Social Services told Matthew’s family that there was nothing more it could do and there were no other placements available.
Matthew’s family contacted Martin Searle Solicitors for advice regarding paying for care home fees for Matthew. They were concerned that they were being pressured by the Local Authority to accept a placement which was unsuitable for Matthew or to pay a large top-up.
Clare English wrote to Social Services to remind them of their duties under the Care Act 2014 to provide Matthew with a care home placement that is suitable and available to meet his needs.
She argued that the Care and Support assessment written by Matthew’s Social Worker outlined his psychological dependence on Grace and his need to have time with her daily if possible. Clare outlined the reasons why the alternative placements were unsuitable to meet Matthew’s needs.
She pointed out that Social Services had failed in their duty to provide at least one suitable placement option at the Local Authority funded rate. Clare asked Social Services to provide evidence of an available placement which is suitable to meet all of Matthew’s needs without requiring the family to pay a third party top-up.
Social Services took legal advice and explored other care home options for Matthew. Within a week, the Social Worker wrote to Clare to concede that they could not find a suitable, cheaper alternative care home.
As a result, Social Services accepted that they would need to pay the higher rate so that Matthew could remain at the respite placement with Local Authority means tested funding and no top-up.
Matthew’s family were delighted that he could remain at the care home within walking distance of the family home to allow daily visits.