Care home fees are an emotive issue. They can consume a large proportion of the wealth people have spent a lifetime building. This can mean there is much less for relatives to inherit. And, of course, there’s the ‘random’ element that means some older people never need to go into care while others do.
It’s probably not surprising that people question whether the fees being charged are reasonable. In most parts of the country fees are over £651 per week of the 2017 national average. And that’s just for the residential element. Any specialist nursing care will be additional.
Over £33,000 per year may sound like a lot. But perhaps it isn’t if you compare it to the cost of even a fairly modest hotel. In a care home, on top of the accommodation there will be some element of personal care depending on individual needs. This could be help with washing and dressing or safe administration of medication. There will also be meals and laundry.
A care home is also much more than a warm and comfortable place to live. There are activities and outings to maintain physical and emotional wellbeing. There are also qualified staff who can keep an eye on the physical and mental health of residents. Companionship and round the clock help are part of the package.
Regulation and Training
Care homes are not free to deliver whatever standard of care they think appropriate. It is a highly regulated sector. Everything from the way homes are managed to the skills of staff is monitored alongside basic considerations such as hygiene and health and safety. Performance is evaluated by the Care Quality Commission and their judgements are very public.
The training costs to ensure that all staff are suitably skilled and qualified are significant and new regulations and requirements come along all the time.
Quite rightly, the CQC, relatives and society place very high expectations on the way that homes care for their residents. This is as it should be. But it cannot be done for a budget price.