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Finding a care home: legal responsibilities of relatives?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by alzuser, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    Hello

    I have a close relative who has been in hospital for a few weeks. She has dementia and has deteriorated in hospital both physically and mentally to the point where she needs to move to a care/nursing home. The hospital wants to discharge her. The social worker involved is suggesting that it is our responsibility to find such a home, and is clearly trying to chivvy us along faster than we are prepared to go (we know nothing about finding a care home, and the financial situation is messy, so we want to take our own good time).

    I have spent a great deal of time in recent days reading up on the law related to discharge procedures, CHC assessments (via statutes, case law, and NHS framework guidance), and so on, but I can find no legal authority that states that a relative of a person being discharged must assume responsibility for finding a care home place.

    So my question is: does anyone know definitively what is the legal position here, and can quote a specific piece of law one way or the other? Also does the position differ if the relative has some form of power-of-attorney?

    My feeling is that there is no such legal responsibility placed on relatives, and indeed, if they were so minded, a relative could refuse to take any part in the discharge procedure, but I'd like to know for sure.
     
  2. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    Hi alzuser,

    The New Care Act squarely puts the responsibility for care on Local Authorities. The Statutory Guidance states.......

    "This guidance sets out how local
    authorities should go about fulfilling their responsibilities, both individually and in partnership
    with other local organisations, communities, and people themselves.
    2.3. The local authority’s responsibilities for prevention apply to all adults, including:
    •• people who do not have any current needs for care and support;
    •• adults with needs for care and support, whether their needs are eligible and/or met by the local authority or not (see chapter 6);
    •• carers, including those who may be about to take on a caring role or who do not currently have any needs for support, and those with needs for support which may not be being met by the local authority or other organisation."


    I do not think it is written in law that you are NOT responsible but more importantly neither is it written that you are.

    The problem though with leaving it all the LA is that you will not have any choice of where your relative is placed.

    I wish you well. :)
     
  3. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    The question is, does it matter to you where she goes? if it does you probably do need to be instrumental in looking for somewhere suitable. Hospital discharge teams DO place people, but it may not be to your liking.

    Its far better to get on and look, than to try and fight back when they do suggest a place and you don't like it
     
  4. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    #4 alzuser, Jul 31, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
    Thanks Peter

    Yes, I think the Care Act 2014 is the appropriate piece of legislation here. I have just taken a look through it, however, and it is somewhat vague as to the precise nature of the responsibilities that it places on LAs, so I guess it may be helpful to go through the guidance - do you know where this is available from?

    As you say, I can see nothing in the Care Act that requires anyone other than the LA to take on such a responsibility.
     
  5. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    In the interests of anonymity, I left various salient details out of the original question; in the short term, my relative will be self-funding (until my almost guaranteed successful application for retrospective CHC :)), but we currently only have an application for FPoA, and it has not been granted yet. So we have no way to fund a home in the short term. We are discussing the possibility of a short term loan from the LA, but we don't like the financial implications of the agreement that they are offering. So things are tricky from that point of view.

    My purpose in asking the question was really to establish the precise limits of the law here: although we are happy to look round for a suitable home, we're not prepared to dance to someone else's timescale, so I wanted to know that, if necessary, we can simply point out that the matter is not legally our responsbility, and let them find an initial placement, which we can change when/if FPoA is granted. It may be that we have to be very hard-headed about this, for financial reasons, and I need to know that we have the law on our side.
     
  6. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    Thanks for this. Looks like more nice light reading for the weekend ...
     
  7. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    The quote I included is from the statutory guidance. Not vague in my opinion.:confused:
     
  8. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    I was referring to the Care Act 2014 itself, not the guidance. I haven't yet had a chance to look at that. The guidance is likely to be more specific than the statute that it is based on.
     
  9. Pete R

    Pete R Registered User

    Jul 26, 2014
    2,046
    Staffs
    If that is your game plan I would tread a little more carefully. If you relinquish all control now you may find it very difficult to get any back. As horrendous as I have found my LA to deal you really do need to work with them especially since you do not have health & welfare PoA . They do have an enormous amount of power which they are not afraid of using.

    When you do get PoA for finance it does give you absolute right to do as you please especially when it comes to moving someone from a care home.

    I wish you well.:)
     
  10. dora

    dora Registered User

    Aug 1, 2007
    145
    England
    In my experience, homes are amazingly lax in sending out initial bills for residents and if there are circumstances such as waiting for PoA or a house sale, they won't put the resident out on the street, but will wait until the money is available.

    Letting the SS choose a home may produce an unwelcome result (the ones with most vacancies are rarely the one you would choose), and it is never good to move a frail, confused person from one home to another.

    For these reasons, my advice would be for you to find a suitable home and arrange for your relative to move in, and worry later about paying.
    If the home is excessively worried about payment rather than finding out the needs of your relative, this is probably a good sign that it is not suitable.

    You say you know nothing about finding a care home - read up factsheets on this site and ageuk - also relevant threads on the forum here.
    My advice in a nutshell - you want kindness, not chandeliers.
     
  11. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    It would be going too far to describe it as a game plan. It's something to be kept in reserve, for use in extremis. In preparing for any situation that could get difficult, I like to be fully informed of my possible gambits. As barristers apparently say: "Never ask a question that you don't know the answer to".

    Yes, I'm aware of the powers of the LA, and I'm happy to work with them as long as it's not to my detriment. Anyway, events have moved on a little now, and I'm more comfortable with the funding situation (well, as comfortable as I can be with a CCG that's refusing to follow the CHC guidelines)

    Thanks for your response.
     
  12. alzuser

    alzuser Registered User

    Jul 30, 2015
    11
    Well, that would be nice, but I'm going to assume that the cash has to be available up-front, and plan accordingly.

    Yes, I agree with all of this. I think we have resolved our funding problem with the LA however, so I'm happier about going ahead now.

    Yes, I already have a lot of factsheets to go through, and various other documents too. And re: the kindness: yes, this is true but sadly it's easier to measure the chandeliers than the kindness, so it's difficult to know what to do for the best.
     

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