Scrutiny of care home ‘top-up fees’

March 31, 2016

Through the conversations that the Commissioner has with older people across Wales, and the direct case support that she provides, it is clear that paying for social care is both a complex and emotive issue. The Commissioner has received a number of enquiries that relate in particular to requests from care providers for ‘third party payments’ towards the cost of care (when an individual receives funding from a Local Authority or Health Board), or charges for ‘additional services’.

Through the conversations that the Commissioner has with older people across Wales, and the direct case support that she provides, it is clear that paying for social care is both a complex and emotive issue.

The Commissioner has received a number of enquiries that relate in particular to requests from care providers for ‘third party payments’ towards the cost of care (when an individual receives funding from a Local Authority or Health Board), or charges for ‘additional services’.

These charges are governed by regulation and are quite different from each other in nature. However, the Commissioner has been informed that both are being colloquially referred to as ‘top-up fees’, and that there are ongoing concerns from older people that they will be forced to move home should they or their families be unable to meet such charges.

Whilst the Commissioner understands that providers and commissioners are providing care and support in a challenging financial landscape, it must not be forgotten that it is older people, and more often than not, some of the most vulnerable older people in our society, for whom such care and support is being delivered.

In light of this, the Commissioner has written to all providers of care homes (residential and nursing) in Wales, as well as to Local Authority and Health Board commissioners, outlining her expectations for older people in situations relating to ‘top-up fees’. Copies of these letters have also been sent to the Welsh Government and Care Forum Wales.

Click here to download the letter sent to care providers

Click here to download the letter sent to Local Authority and Health Board Commissioners