How Paula Jones, Associate Solicitor, helped her client’s family prevent Social Services from taking the cost of a care home into consideration when making a Best Interest Decision about where their elderly relative should live.
Stanley, who was 79 years old, had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He had been cared for at home by his wife for several years before she became terminally ill and could no longer care for him. Stanley had made Lasting Powers of Attorney appointing Ella as his Attorney for his Finances and for his Health and Welfare. Ella carefully chose a care home within a short distance of the village that Stanley had lived in for most of his life, so that his wife and family could visit on a daily basis.
When he moved in to the care home, Stanley had assessable assets above £23,250, which meant he was above the social care threshold for self funding care fees. When his savings fell below the £23,250 limit, Ella asked Social Services for financial support to pay the care home fees. Social Services told Ella that Stanley would have to move to a cheaper care home, because the home that Stanley lived in cost more than the “Local Authority usual rate” for care homes. Alternatively, the family would have to pay an expensive top-up, which they could not afford to do. Social Services argued that under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, it was in Stanley’s best interests to be moved to the cheaper care home.
Paula represented Ella at the Best Interest Meeting. Paula successfully argued that it was unlawful for Social Services to use the cost of a placement to make a best interest decision. She prepared a best interest balance sheet to show how and why it was in Stanley’s best interests to remain at the care home.
Paula successfully demonstrated that Social Services decision making was flawed and was in breach of the Mental Capacity Act.
Paula was able to demonstrate that it was in Stanley’s best interests to remain in the care home near to his wife, so they could continue to see each other daily.
Social Services agreed to increase Stanley’s personal budget to cover the cost of his care home placement. This meant that Stanley’s wife and daughter did not have to pay a top-up. Stanley also received a refund of £13,000 for care fees he had paid before Social Services accepted it was in his best interests to remain in his original care home.