The Care Act 2014 has changed things dramatically going forward.
Many of the changes are positive but for most people the big PR point that you won’t lose your house is nothing more than that. PR puffery. You may not lose your house while you are alive. But it is still pretty likely to be lost as soon as you die and the Local Authority want their loan repaid with interest when the new rules come in. The big issue is that the Care Act provides for East Sussex County Council or the NHS to pay for essential nursing care but you still have to pay for your accommodation, food, laundry etc etc. That part doesn’t come into the cap at all. (These costs are known as “hotel” costs.)
So the £72,000 cap before the State takes over payments for nursing care only, won’t be reached by any but a small minority of people who will continue to have to pay “hotel” costs. That said the following video will give you an insight into how East Sussex County Council will have to set up its’ services.
The following comments are loosely taken from an article by The Social Care Institute for Excellence.
When should I get advice on the Care Act 2014?
Ideally, you should talk to us many years before the Care Act is of any possible consequence – because no one knows if and when it will become vital to their lives.
The Care Act 2014 is the most significant piece of legislation in our sector since the
establishment of the welfare state. It builds on a patchwork of legislation built up since
the 1948 National Assistance Act.
The Act begins by defining the primary responsibility of local authorities – East Sussex County Council (‘ESCC’) for our purposes – as the promotion of individual well-being.
It should be less about providing services than about meeting needs in future. ESCC won’t be able to comply with the Act by providing one size fits all services but must put the person at the centre of their offer.
The Act has a focus on preventing or delaying the need for support. So investing in preventative services and full utilising of any existing community resources, facilities and assets to prevent people’s needs escalating. We’re not sure where they will find the money for all the extra staff this will require!
Carers are given significant new entitlements under the Act. It’s hoped that they will be
supported to maintain their caring role for longer.
East Sussex County Council must establish and maintain an information and advice service available to everyone in East Sussex, not just people who are entitled to funding or support. The service should cover the new rights and entitlements that people have under the Act and how they can access them in East Sussex.
Advice should include financial advice. Information should be provided in accessible ways not just on a website, or leaflets in a GPs office but tailored to the needs of local people.
The Act requires local authorities to promote integration with the NHS and other key
partners – this will include working through local health and well-being boards.
The Care Act 2014 aims to put people at the centre of their care and support and maximise their involvement. Some people can have real difficulty being involved in social care processes and don’t have someone appropriate to support them. If this is the case then the local authority must arrange an independent advocate to help them be involved in assessment, planning, appeals or safeguarding.
Needs or carers assessments must be carried out where it appears to an authority that
they are necessary. The assessment should be appropriate, proportionate, person centred
and ensure a focus on the duty to promote well-being
The Act establishes a national minimum threshold at which people will be eligible for
support. Instead of a council assessing levels of need, it will ask if people can achieve
Once an assessment has been made there’s a duty on local authorities to produce care
and support plans and to offer a personal budget. This should focus on keeping people
directly involved. The Act also sets out a duty to review Care and Support plans to
ensure that they continue to meet the needs of the person.
The funding reforms hope to ensure that people will be protected from having to sell
their homes and lose their assets in order to pay for care. To do this the Government
will place a cap on how much people pay over their lifetime. This means that councils
will need to establish accounts so that they know when people will have reached this
cap. They will also have to provide something called a deferred payment scheme,
assisting people with payment if they go into a care home.
Local authorities expect a rise in demand for assessments because of the changes to
funding and entitlement. The focus on well-being and possible increased demand
challenges the way local authorities have come to approach the traditional care
management cycle. This means going beyond ‘business as usual’ and thinking about
different forms of assessment, including doing it yourself on-line or going to a drop-in
Adult safeguarding is, for the first time, spelt out in the law in the Care Act. Local
authorities must make enquiries if they believe an adult is, or is at risk of, being abused
or neglected. They must also set up a safeguarding adults board including key
stakeholders. This board will carry out safeguarding adults reviews when people die as
a result of neglect or abuse and there’s a concern that the local authority, or its partners,
could have done more.
Local authorities will be preparing to implement most of the provisions of the Act by April
2015, the following year in April 2016 the funding reforms will come into place and with
them the expected rise in demand for assessments.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence is working closely with central and local
Government to produce useful resources. Our initial work is focused on commissioning
advocacy services, safeguarding duties, assessment and eligibility, transition to
adulthood and, evidence and examples of preventative services.