While only around 1 in 4 of us will require to go into residential or nursing care, many of us are concerned about the cost of care as we get older.
If you do require residential or nursing care, the Local Authority has a duty to provide a place in a home for you and in doing so they will carry out a variety of assessments to determine what level of care you require and who should be liable for the cost; whether the cost will be covered fully by Local Authority contributions or whether you will contribute towards your care. When making these determinations the Local Authority has a number of statutory tests that they are required to adhere to, some of which were highlighted in the recent case of PQ (as Attorney for Mrs Q) v Glasgow City Council. In October this year, the Court of Session ruled in favour of a Local Authority in its duties to provide care and the assessment of the level of care applicable should their assistance be required.
When determining the level of care, the Local Authority must firstly decide on what level of support is required and they must assess this on what is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances. The Local Authority then has to assess the level of payments for the provisions of care which again has to be reasonable and practicable. The Local Authority will look at your income and capital, such as your savings and property and decide whether you have to pay, and if so, how much. If you are over 65, the Local Authority will include an allowance for personal care within your income assessment, a provision which is not means tested.
In the case noted above, the family wished for Mrs Q to have 24 hour one to one care at home. The cost of this service however outweighed the need for that level of care and 24 hour nursing care was seen as a suitable alternative, albeit to the dissatisfaction of Mrs Q’s family who felt the Local Authority's assessments had been inadequately carried out. With regards to the assessments, it was commented on several occasions in the case of PQ (as Attorney for Mrs Q) v Glasgow City Council that the statutory tests should be read and applied in a practical common sense way rather than from an overly legalistic point of view, as this was the way Parliament had intended that the law to be interpreted.
As with most families, Mrs Q’s son, acting as her attorney, wanted his mother to be in receipt of the best care possible and this recent case highlights that there are legal provisions governing the basis of decision making by Local Authorities regarding care assessment. By planning for the future, you can be better prepared for care costs and there are many considerations involved. These considerations depend on each individual and their circumstances.
If you would like to discuss and review your individual situation, please contact Private Client speclialist Murray Etherington at email@example.com or call on 01382 229111.