Care Home Agreement Con

edited 17 January 2020 at 12:57PM in Disability money matters
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A_SmithA_Smith Forumite
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edited 17 January 2020 at 12:57PM in Disability money matters
My mother has lived in the same care home for the past four years. Some of the cost is paid by social service, all of her state pension plus all of her small private pension which is £165 per month. I cant remember exactly when, possibly a few weeks after my mother started the residency, the care home asked me to sign a very simple agreement stating that when my mother leaves the care home or upon death, the cost of one years care will become payable to the care home. I think it was countersigned by one of the staff who still works there. Due to persistent bad care I would like to move her to another care home. I was not told anything about the agreement before my mother entered the care home and I was never given a copy of the agreement and I do not have power of attorney, so is the agreement legally binding.

Also, a few weeks ago one of the staff approached me holding a small torn scrap of paper with a hand written list of six or seven resident names including my mother who were all being asked to pay varying amounts from around £30 to £90. She asked me to pay approximately £65 but was not entirely sure what the bill was for and thought it could be for a hair dresser, chiropodist and activities such as arts & craft. I said the hair dresser had been paid and I took her to chiropodist appointments which were free on the NHS and I pointed out that I had not been told about having to pay extra for arts & craft. I asked her to give me a proper itemised bill but so far I have not receive one. Then a few days ago the owner of the care home rang me asking for payment and said the bill had increased to over £90. I know my mother does not normally like to take part in care home activities so I was surprised when the manager told me she really enjoys the arts & craft activity. I asked how much the activity costs and again was surprised when the owner told me it can vary depending on how many residence take part. She said the arts & craft worker charges around £50 per session and the cost is divided between those who take part, so if only two take part it would be £25 each. This is an extortionate amount to charge and I only have the care home word that my mother took part.

Can you give advice please.

Replies

  • personally I would speak to social services and get their opinion on this.
  • edited 17 January 2020 at 4:52PM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 17 January 2020 at 4:52PM
    If you don't have power of attorney, what legal mechanism are you using to manage her finances, presuming that she is not able to do so for herself?

    What is the wording of the agreement that you signed, and were you signing it on her behalf or as a third party agreement?

    Also to add, you're going to have to involve social services anyway because a move to another care home will be looking at your mother's best interests and in the absence of a power of attorney they will be the decision maker in consultation with family. Have you already raised your concerns about poor standards of care?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Thanks for the replies. I will contact social services to get their opinion.

    I am the last of my mothers close relatives and her only child. I have my mothers written permission to administer her bank account as we do not trust the care home or anyone. Early in 2019 the care home was put in special measures and one staff member was sacked for abusing at least one resident and possibly my mother. The police were involved but I do not know the outcome.
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Does your mother have capacity around her finances, as third party bank mandates lapse when the person loses capacity. If she does have capacity, then it's her choice with regards to whether she wants to pay the costs of the activities. And her choice whether she wants to move or not.
    The local authority should have carried out a safeguarding about the alleged abuse. Get on to them about the outcome and keeping mum informed, as per the policies around keeping safeguarding personal.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • edited 18 January 2020 at 9:36AM
    A_SmithA_Smith Forumite
    4 Posts
    edited 18 January 2020 at 9:36AM
    I just discovered this article on a solicitors website. (Anthony Collins Solicitors )



    We highlighted last year that care home providers were at risk of breaching consumer rights protections when charging families for extended periods (of up to four weeks) after the death of a resident.

    The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now published final advice to help care homes understand and comply with their responsibilities under consumer law, in these circumstances. The CMA confirms that:
    • if you charge a fixed fee following the death of a resident, this should be calculated pro rata up to a maximum of three days;
    • if you charge fees following the death of a resident up until the resident’s room is cleared of their possessions, this can be calculated pro rata up to a maximum of ten days (this back-stop period can be extended at the explicit request of relatives);
    • you should not charge top-up fees for any period that is longer than the Local Authority would have paid following a resident’s death;
    • relatives should not be required to make up any shortfall in Funded Nursing Care following a resident’s death; and
    • any funds charged after a resident has passed away should be refunded if their room is then reoccupied.
    There are benefits that can arise from keeping a room available after a resident has passed away. For example, it provides friends and family with time to make suitable arrangements to attend the home without feeling under pressure from a home to make the room available as soon as possible. However, the guidance makes clear that providers should avoid charging twice for the same room.
    If your contract terms allow you to clear the deceased’s room of belongings, you should clearly state what you will do with their possessions plus what (if anything) you will charge for clearing and/or storing the items. Any fees charged to the estate should reflect your reasonably incurred costs, and you should return any monies received from the sale of items to the resident’s representative within a reasonable timeframe (i.e. within 30 days).
    Now that the advice is final, the CMA expects all care homes to review as soon as possible and, where necessary, change their contract terms and practices or risk enforcement action. A contract term that is unfair is not enforceable against a resident and any money paid may be recoverable by them. Additionally, a consumer may be entitled to receive a discount or seek damages for detriment caused by a breach of consumer protections.
    Whilst it can feel uncomfortable to discuss what happens next in the event of a resident’s death, it is important to ensure your contract terms are clear and that individuals understand their rights and obligations, whilst also treating the topic with appropriate sensitivity.
    The CMA is now consulting on its general guidance for care home providers. You have until 12 July 2018 to submit your thoughts on what is fair for consumers purchasing residential care for the elderly.


    I hope this will help others who feel their care home is trying to rip them off.
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