Care Law

This page provides some information on key areas of law relating to Health and Social care that may be useful to you if you experience difficulties in getting the support you think you need.

This advice is provided to give you an awareness of some of the rights the law provides. If you think you may want to have recourse to the law you should consult a solicitor, the advice on this page can not be relied on without the advice of a solicitor.


Assessments of Need.

If you require help with everyday tasks, the local authority has a legal duty to carry out an assessment to ascertain what help and assistance you need. The law states that anyone who needs health or social care because of problems associated with old age, mental illness, learning, physical or sensory difficulties should be able to attain care services and support tailored to their individual needs whether at home or in a residential home. Read more about this.


Paying for Care following an Assessment

Once the Local Authority has carried out a Care Needs Assessment and concluded that you require support, they will then carry out a Financial Assessment to work out how you will pay for your help and support.

The outcome of the financial assessment will be that the local authority will either:

  • Agree to meet the full cost of your care needs
  • Agree to meet some of the cost (and you’ll need to top up the rest)
  • Leave you meet the full cost of your care

The local authority will then set up a personal budget for you which keeps track of the costs of your care. Read more about this.


Challenging a care needs assessment

Should you qualify for Care Needs, the Local Authority will advise you as to what services it can provide to you directly or arrange for you and this is known as your Care Plan and can recommend either services to enable you to stay at home or that your needs require residential care. Read more about this.


Choice of Care Home

You always have a choice of your care home should you be a self funder. Should you require financial assistance from the Local Authority, you can chose you own care home should you wish, however there may be complications which result in you not being able to do so.

 Self Funder

Self-funding a care home is quite common. If you are a self funder you are free to choose your own care home. This means that you will have a wider choice than that of people funded by the local authority.

Assistance in choosing a Care Home.

You can request support in finding a care home, the local authority can help to find somewhere suitable.

Local Authority Assistance

Even if the Local Authority is providing assistance, you are entitled to chose your own care home. However, the care home must be able to provide your needs and comply with the terms and conditions of your care plan and the home must not cost more than the Local Authority would usually pay for someone with your needs.

What if my Home fees are more than the Local Authority are providing / willing to pay?

If you assets fall below the £23,250 or even the £14,250 thresholds and the Home costs more than the local authority is willing to pay. You can request that your fees will be topped up from a 3rd party.

If you are unable to find someone to top up your fees, this could result in you being moved to a less expensive accommodation and this could be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.


What is Power of Attorney? Lasting Powers of Attorney

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables you to decide, in advance, a person or people who you would trust to manage your affairs in the event that you become physically or mentally incapable of dealing with them yourself.

There are two types of LPA.

  1. An LPA in relation to Property and Affairs
  2. An LPA in relation to Health and Welfare.

A Property and Affairs LPA allows you to appoint somebody who you trust to make decisions about how to spend your money, and manage your property and affairs. A Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorneys to make decisions relating to health care, where you live and can even go as far as giving them the authority to authorise or refuse life sustaining medical treatment.

Benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney 

The main benefit of creating Lasting Powers of Attorney are that it allows you decide in advance who you wish to manage your affairs in the event that you become unable to do so.   If you do not have in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, it is likely to be necessary for somebody to apply to the Court for an Order appointing them as what is known as a Deputy (essentially the same as an Attorney but with stricter rules).

Although they may then be able to deal with your affairs in the same manner, the process is very expensive and there is no guarantee that a person who you would wish to manage your affairs will be the person appointed by the Court.


The legal information in this section was provided by Smith Sutcliffe Solicitors

 Care Law is extremely complex and detailed. The team at Smith Sutcliffe is skilled at providing help, guidance and assistance to clients and their families when an individual is moving into a nursing home, wishes to challenge an assessment or their care needs change.

In addition to the above, Smith Sutcliffe are unique in offering to all clients an overview of the family, financial and legal circumstances by way of a free Planning Report which takes into consideration all of the above factors and sets out in clear plain language the different options available to clients to help and assist them.

This can be as stated, challenging assessment or care home placements, or advice regarding appropriate Wills, Powers of Attorney or complex Trust arrangements.

To find out more about how we can help you, contact Patrick Swanney at Smith Sutcliffe solicitors today on 01282 778434, or email Patrick.swanney@smithsutcliffe.com

Note: the above should not be considered an endorsement by East Lancs CCG. Anyone seeking legal advice should make their own judgement. Advice on finding a solicitor is available from the Law Society and a list of local solicitors is available on their web site http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/using-a-solicitor/

The information provided in this section is for awareness only and cannot be taken as legal advice. Anyone who seeks legal redress to a health and social care issue are advised to take advice from a solicitor of their choice.