There may come a time when a person needs long term care over and above what can be practically provided by home care or nursing agencies. It is at this point that the option of moving into a care home is normally considered.

Deciding to leave one's own home and move into a care home can be very stressful and distressing.

However, many people's preconceptions about moving into a care home are usually unfounded and generally the care provided is of a high standard, allowing a person to live a fulfilled life, with the care provided meeting their personal needs while respecting their privacy and dignity.

Residential or Nursing Care – What’s the difference?

Mainly there are two types of care home and they are known as residential or nursing depending upon the level of care provided.

There is a wide range of care homes to suit most people, so they can carry on their lives and maintain participation in the activities they enjoy, but with the added benefit of security, companionship and 24 hour care.

The care in a residential home usually comprises of the living accommodation and meals together with personal care, help and supervision with medication and someone on call at night.

The care provided in a nursing home is along the same lines as that provided in a residential home with the addition of constant nursing care by specialist nursing staff on an ongoing basis. This type of care is likely to be required by people who are bedridden or very frail and who need regular nursing attention.

Funded Nursing Care - formerly Registered Nursing Care Contribution (RNCC)

If a person has been assessed as needing nursing care and is a resident in a Registered Nursing Home and is receiving Registered Nursing Care, there is a Funded Nursing Care (FNC) contribution payable towards the cost of this care. The payments are made directly to the care home and are used towards the cost of the nursing care whether the care is being funded by the local authority or by the resident themselves. FNC is not paid if a person is receiving nursing care in their own home or in a care home that does not provide nursing care.

In Scotland, there is a payment towards Personal Care and a further contribution if nursing care is required but if the additional monies are paid for nursing care then this cancels out the right to claim for Attendance Allowance.

The rates differ depending upon which part of the UK you live:

* A previous banding system existed prior to October 2007 and for those assessed as being 'high need' and in receipt of the higher rate contribution will continue on this basis according to current guidelines unless they are reassessed to a lower rate. If this occurs, the rates applying to the new system will apply.

For those who are living in a residential home that does not provide nursing care or those who live at home but who need some nursing care, will have their needs taken care of by their district nurse and do not qualify for Funded Nursing Care.

Section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA)

Persons who have been detained under certain sections of the Mental Health Act are entitled to free aftercare under Section 117. This applies to people who have been detained under sections, known as 'treatment' sections of the Act and these sections are 3,37,45A,47 or 48.

The provision of free aftercare is to try to provide the help and support they need to cope and to try to prevent them having to return to hospital. This care begins when they leave hospital and cannot be ended without a discharge meeting when the section is formally discharged, therefore if a person was under Section 117, this will remain the case until they have had this meeting.

Local authorities cannot charge for residential accommodation for people who are under Section 117 aftercare services and if, you have been charged for services which you were already eligible for due to being under Section 117, you may be able to reclaim your money. You should start by writing to the authority in question and if they do not refund your money, you should seek legal advice.

For further help and advice concerning your eligibility to NHS Continuing care funding and how to obtain the help you need, contact us for further information.