Category Archives: News

Assessing Care Needs and Putting The Right People In Charge

Assessing Care Needs – When Needs Fluctuate.

Assessing care needs can be tough, especially with the immense pressure on Social Workers and the NHS.  Bearing in mind that the family have NO RIGHTS unless there is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power in place, only the person whose needs are being assessed has any rights. And if the carers decide they do not have the ability to make decisions, only the Court of Protection has the right to overrule them. Mental capacity is not constant with most people.

And the standard by which it is judged will vary depending on the urgency and importance of the decision.  There is a massive difference in the standard required to decide which coat to wear today, and deciding whether or not to have a life-saving operation or to sell your home.  The ability to make decisions can change very rapidly, and people may be lapse in and out of capacity quite quickly.  It is quite a complex test and is essentially a legal test rather than anything else, so you can see why Social Workers may have difficulty making relatively snap decisions with people they may hardly know.   The family, given the authority, are in a far better position to make such decisions.

In 2014, a survey of Social Workers showed that more than half of the decisions made by Social Workers about peoples ability to make decisions were wrong.  So arming the family with at least Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place.

The video is fairly wide-ranging, but I think you will find it worth watching.

Fluctuating needs and fluctuating mental capacity are a serious problem.  But the situation is far better if both types of Lasting Power of Attorney are in place, so the right people can make decisions or push for extra resources or help. Much better to have power on your side rather than risk having to appeal to the Court of Protection who will tend to accept Healthcare professionals views, even though they don’t really know what your wishes would have been.

Unprepared – 93 Percent of the Adult Population

Unprepared – 93 Percent of the Adult Population

COUNCILS FACE AN ADDITIONAL £1.62 BILLION ANNUAL BILL AS THOSE PREPARED TO DEPLETE THEIR WEALTH TO AVOID PAYING FOR CARE ALMOST DOUBLES.

As local authorities face the financial impact of the increase in the living wage on care budgets – a welcome but financially difficult move – specialist Insurer Partnership warns there may be more to come. Indeed, according to their latest Care Report, the proportion of people who would be happy to reduce their assets below the £23,250 threshold in order to ensure councils pays for their long-term care has almost doubled in two years from 23% (2013) to 43% (2015).

At the Legal Planning Group, Stephen Pett, Client Services Director said “Another recent survey said that 86% of people are not legally prepared for things going wrong.  Losing control of your life is bad enough, but handing control to Social Services, not your family is (apparently) the preferred route of more than nine in ten people who don’t know any better. Are you one of them? Almost certainly!  Use the contact form at the foot of the page to ask for our 2 Minute Guide to Legal Planning, and see just how vulnerable you and your loved ones are!”

With an estimated 126,000 entering care each year, Partnership suggests that this could see councils shouldering up to an additional £1.62 billion burden in England alone if all of those who say they intend to spend their wealth do so. Add this to the anticipated billion pound living wage bill and local services will be under more pressure than ever.

Councils in the South East (£338 million) and East (£211 million) are likely to be most impacted due to the relatively high number of costly care homes in these regions. People in the North East (47%) – already the region with the highest number of people claiming local authority support for care – are most likely to say they would spend their wealth and fall back on the state for support.

Impact of Deliberate Deprivation of Assets on Local Councils:

Region

% who would deliberately deprive themselves

No. people entering Care Each year

Potential Cost per region

North East

47%

7,887

£100,619,822

North West

46%

18,018

£202,996,554

Yorkshire

45%

13,464

£161,624,549

West Midlands

45%

13,068

£161,763,545

East Midlands

42%

11,385

£130,540,410

East

43%

14,289

£210,551,844

London

44%

9,603

£137,982,050

South East

42%

23,100

£337,513,176

South West

37%

15,840

£176,152,205

England

43%

126,654

£1,619,744,155

Jim Boyd, Director of Corporate Affairs at Partnership explains:

“While the second tranche of the Care Act with its associated implications has been delayed until 2020, councils still face a significant financial burden – which is set to grow considerably if even a third of these people deliberately deprive themselves of their assets.   Spending or giving away your wealth before you need care might seem attractive but it does limit your options and means that you are likely to have far less control over your future than you may hope.

“It could also be financially devastating for councils who are facing the financial impact of the introduction of the living wage on care budgets. While making wages more sustainable is naturally to be welcomed, budgets are already squeezed and local authorities are going to be carefully considering how to manage this amongst other demands on their finances. This is unlikely to lead to a satisfactory outcome for anyone.

“Those consumers who would prefer to have more choice but wish to safeguard some of their assets need to speak to a specialist financial adviser. They are fully qualified to not only show people how to structure their finances to meet their care cost obligations but also how to ring-fence money to leave to their families. This may involve the use of an immediate needs annuity – the only financial product specifically designed for ensuring the cost of care can be met as it guarantees to pay an income to meet a person’s care fees no matter how long they live.”

Stephen Pett added “The role of the financial adviser is very specific: you need to speak to legal professionals such as ourselves to set up the best possible protection for yourself and your assets.  There is no legal requirement for you to leave Social Services in charge of your affairs, and billing you for their time!”

Focus on Dementia Report: Prevention, Slowing Disease and Precautions

Focus on Dementia Report 2016.

The Focus on Dementia Report says that Alzheimer’s drugs prescriptions are six times higher than a decade ago.

HSCIC reports that the number of prescriptions dispensed in England for approved medicines to treat Alzheimer’s increased from 502,000 in 2004 to 3 million in 2014. The cost to the NHS of prescriptions for Alzheimer’s disease medicines dispensed in primary care stood at £45.7m in 2014. This was up from £42.8m in 2004, but down from the high point it reached in 2011 of £110.8m.

Worse still, the proportion of people who had a diagnosis of dementia in their GP record rose from 643 per 100,000 people in April 2014 to 755 people per 100,000 in December 2015. That is a jump of well over 17%. Ingrid McCleave, Head of Legal at Eastbourne Law Solicitors says “a diagnosis of early stage Alzheimers does not necessarily mean that it is too late to put sound Legal Planning in place.  If it happens to your or a loved one, and they have not taken proper legal precautions, please do call us at the earliest possible moment.” (01323 406299.)

The statistics are published today as part of the Focus On Dementia report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), pulling together in one place for the first time a range of information on dementia including statistics on diagnosis, prescribing, social care, mental health and lifestyle trends. The report also shows:

For those over 65, the highest rate of diagnosis is in the South of England, closely followed by the North. The Midlands is a further 9% or so lower. London has a diagnosis rate almost 40% lower than the South. I haven’t had the time to find out why the figures are so wildly different but for those of you with more time, I do recommend reading the Focus on Dementia report, which was issued in January 2016.

39 percent of carers who looked after someone with dementia spent 100 or more hours each week doing so in 2014/15. Over half (51 percent) of carers had been in this role for more than five years.

Responsible statistician Jonathan Hope said: “Our ageing population means that the way we diagnose, treat and care for people with dementia will be increasingly important to many of

Stephen Pett of Eastbourne Law solicitors added “The report in effect emphasises the urgent requirement for both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney as part peoples Legal Planning is sadly rising.  There can be no excuse for recommending only the Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney and not the Health and Welfare one as well.

That is why we offer significantly reduced fees when clients have both types prepared at the same time. The Court of Protection is not keen to allow others to take Health and Welfare decisions where the person concerned has not made provision.  So Social Services tend to have the upper hand.”

See also ways of reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.