Growing older can be a daunting prospect. The social care and healthcare systems are often overwhelming. It can be stressful at the best of times, but the pressure can feel much worse if it is your partner who requires support. Trying to care for someone physically and/or financially can cause a huge emotional toll, that often isn’t spoken about in our society. However, you may be able to access funding for care for your partner.
Partners plan their lives together. So if there is a change in circumstance and one person needs care, it can feel like you are about to face a huge upheaval. It can also be a time of loneliness. Clients often report that here is a huge amount of misinformation about finances and funding healthcare. Many people don’t know what they may qualify for – if anything at all. It seems that there are also very few people correcting this misinformation, or even talking about NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.
Healthcare, not social care.
The confusion generally stems from the difference between social care to healthcare and where that line is. Needs can tip from social care, to healthcare needs. This can have an impact on just who qualifies for what kind of funding. In the UK, our healthcare system is universal. This means that if your social care needs tip to healthcare needs then support could be fully funded. If your partner has a ‘primary health need’, then they could qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.
That means their healthcare needs could be completely financially supported. The NHS is responsible for paying the total cost of care in certain cases. With NHS Continuing Healthcare, this is stated as when needs are ‘relating to the treatment, control or prevention of a disease, illness, injury or disability and the care and after care of a person with those needs’. So if there is a specific primary health need, such as around mobility or needing targeted care, there is funding available. Yet, the process can feel complicated and filled with unfamiliar and technical jargon.
There is an assessment process for determining who may fit the criteria. However, across the country, it has been found that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) vary hugely with the amount of funding that has been paid out. This can create inconsistencies, and each family may find wild variations in the process and how they are treated.
The process can overwhelm people. Sadly, sometimes it is a battle. It can be filled with specific jargon that may be hard to follow. Decisions may be made behind closed doors, when family members and partners have a right to be involved.
It can also be a situation where people are scared to ask for what they are entitled to. Many may not wish to be a ‘burden’, or feel as though they are speaking out of turn if they apply for funding. Additionally, many partners may feel it is their duty to care for their loved one, particularly if they are not told about funding that is potentially available. Widely reported misinformation can mean that people firmly believe that they aren’t entitled to funding, and have no right to ask. This is simply not true. If you have a primary health need, then the care that need causes should be provided for.
Are my savings an issue?
Additionally, your family’s personal resources should not be a factor in the process. This is because NHS Continuing Healthcare funding is not means-tested. Whether you own your own home or rely on savings, should not be an issue when it comes specifically to healthcare. However, the differences between whether needs are social care or healthcare needs are rarely addressed. This means that people carry over beliefs about social care fees into healthcare.
It is the responsibility of the NHS to fund those who qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding. It is financial funding that those who need it have a basic right for.
Growing older shouldn’t have to be a time of upheaval or uncertainty. While the system may be convoluted and, sometimes as clients suggest, even hidden, there is a way to ensure that your partner’s needs are provided for. At Just Caring Legal, we specialise in supporting people through the NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding process. Our expertise and medio-legal knowledge ensures that clients gain strong advocacy, and are guided through the system.
If you think you or your partner could qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding, contact Just Caring Legal today.