Important information

This Directory’s helpline

This Directory’s free helpline provides an independent information and help service encompassing care services and accommodation. A personalised report can be generated for calls providing details of all care homes or housing with care schemes that meet their criteria.
One call to the freephone number 0800 389 2077 will enable the service to build a profile of exactly what type of care you’re looking for, while taking into account your personal needs and interests.

How solicitors can help

A solicitor can give you impartial advice about wills, making gifts, estate planning and Powers of Attorney. Some can also offer guidance on immediate and long-term care plans, ensuring (if applicable) the NHS has made the correct contribution to your fees.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) allow you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions about your personal welfare, including healthcare and consent to medical treatment, and/or your property and financial affairs. An LPA is only valid once registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. It allows for a person of your choice to make decisions on your behalf at a time when you may be unable to.

The Court of Protection can issue Orders directing the management of a person’s property and financial affairs if they are incapable of managing their own affairs should they not have a LPA. The Court procedure is presently very slow and the fees are quite expensive so preparing a LPA is always advisable, providing you have somebody sufficiently trustworthy to appoint as
your attorney.

An ‘advance directive’ allows you to communicate your wishes in respect of future medical treatment but it is not legally binding. You may instead wish to make a living will, known as an ‘advance decision’ setting out treatment that you do not want to receive in specified circumstances, which would legally have to be followed, even if you die as a result.

Any proposed Gift out of your estate needs careful consideration of the benefits, risks and implications, particularly on any future liability for care costs or tax liability.

If you don’t have your own solicitor, ask family or friends for their recommendations. Contact
several firms, explain your situation and ask for an estimate of cost and an idea of time scales
involved. Many firms will make home visits if necessary and will adapt their communications
to meet your needs. It’s important to find a solicitor who specialises in this area of the law. The
Citizen’s Advice Bureau offer an advice service and will be able to recommend solicitors in your area.

For further information, call this Directory’s independent helpline: 0800 389 2077.
Charitable support

The voluntary sector is made up of charitable, not-for-profit organisations. Charities help people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, religions and ethnic origins, in many ways, often when the State cannot do so. If you or someone you know is struggling to meet the costs of care there may well be a charity which could provide some help without affecting benefit entitlements.

Occupational benevolent funds

The occupational benevolent sector excels in ‘communities of interest’. These include people
wanting to live in a religious setting, or those looking for voluntary sector homes and housing
with an ethos allowing them to share their lives with like-minded individuals. For example, a person who has spent their life as a professional may be seeking housing or care amongst other professional people. Another may have spent a working life in a motor factory and now wants to live amongst others with the same working background.

Occupational benevolent funds make sure that their assistance will not affect any state benefits
and they can often help people in difficulty to claim all the allowances to which they’re entitled. Older peoples’ Pension Credit will not be affected by a grant from a benevolent fund. Charities can’t help if what is required is already available on the National Health Service, or covered by state benefits or the local council’s social or other services, but they can often enhance basic provision.

Some examples include:

• Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO):
the national UK umbrella body for trusts and foundations that give grants and welfare support to individuals in need.
Head office tel: 0207 255 4480
Web: www.aco.uk.net

• Hospitality Action: offers assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK and who find themselves in crisis.
Tel: 0203 004 5500; Grants: 0203 004 5507
Web: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk

• Musicians Benevolent Fund: support for those who have worked or are working in the music profession.
Tel: 0207 239 9100
Web: www.helpmusicians.org.uk

• The Book Trade Charity: practical, emotional and financial support to anyone who works or has worked in the book trade, as well as their dependents.
Tel: 01923 263128
Web: www.booktradecharity.org.uk

• The Printing Charity: assists those with a connection to the printing trade.
Tel: 01293 542820
Web: www.theprintingcharity.org.uk

• The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution: helps members of the farming community suffering hardship. For confidential help and advice call the RABI Helpline on 0300 303 7373 or email: grants@rabi.org.uk Web: www.rabi.org.uk

Comments, compliments and complaints

If you use a home care agency or move into a care home you should feel able to complain about any aspect of your life which affects your happiness or comfort. This might be anything from the way you are treated by staff to the quality of the food you are served. You should also feel free to make comments and suggestions about possible improvements to your surroundings and the services provided.

Making a complaint should not be made difficult for you and should not affect the standard of care that you receive whether in your own home or in a care home or care home with nursing.

Care services are required under national essential standards of quality and safety to have a simple and easy to use complaints procedure.

If you are concerned about the care that you, a friend or a relative are receiving, it makes sense to speak to the manager of the service about your concerns before you take any further action.
The problem may be resolved quite easily once they are made aware of it. However, if you need
to make a formal complaint, you should initially contact the registered owners of the service. They have a duty to respond to any complaints made.

If your complaint is about a breach of regulations, contact your local office of the Care Quality Commission (see below for more information about the CQC).

If your local authority has arranged and funded a place for you in a care home or has contributed to a home care service, another option is to complain to your social worker/care manager or the department’s designated complaints manager.

If you have been unable to resolve your complaint you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman on 0300 061 0614 and ask them to assist you. The Local Government Ombudsman looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities and organisations,
including adult social care providers (such as care homes and home care providers). It is a free service. Its job is to investigate complaints in a fair and independent way.

Inspection and registration of care services

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) registers, inspects and reviews all adult social care and healthcare services in England in the public, private and voluntary sectors. This includes care homes, care homes with nursing, home care agencies and NHS services, amongst others. Since October 2010, all care providers must be registered under a new system, introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2008, which brings adult social care, independent healthcare and the NHS under a single set of essential standards of quality and safety for the first time.

CQC holds and publishes up-to-date information about the compliance of adult social care providers with essential standards of safety and quality.

Following an inspection, each provider is given a report on how it rates against national essential standards of quality and safety. Each service’s report can be seen on the CQC website:
www.cqc.org.uk

The focus of an inspection is on the standards of care that people who use the service receive and whether they are happy with their care. Virtually all inspections are unannounced.

For care homes and care homes with nursing, the inspectors look at outcomes which place an emphasis on what people who use services should experience. These can be viewed on the website: www.carechoices.co.uk.

For any enquiries contact CQC by telephone:
03000 616161 or by email: enquiries@cqc.org.uk

The Care Quality Commission
Citygate , Gallowgate
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4PA

When considering care services, it’s always a good idea to check a service’s inspection report on the Care Quality Commission’s comprehensive website: www.cqc.org.uk

Out-of-county care

Did you know you can choose a care home outside your home county? You may want to be closer to friends, family members or you may want to relocate to another part of the country.

If your care home place is state-funded, your home county local authority is still responsible for your care fees, even if you choose a care home in another region. The home you choose must be suitable for your assessed needs and comply with the terms and conditions set by the authority. The fees that your local authority will pay may vary. They may offer you the fees you
would receive if you remained within the county, or they may offer you the fees that the local
authority would pay in your chosen region.

You must seek further advice before making your decision. If you’re self-funded, obviously you have freedom of choice.

For information on care provision in Essex, Southend-on-Sea and other regions, contact this Directory’s helpline on freephone 0800 389 2077 with details of your requirements.

Protecting vulnerable adults

A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves, or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited.

What is adult abuse?
Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates a person’s human and civil rights. The abuse can vary from treating someone with disrespect in a way which significantly affects the person’s quality of life, to causing actual physical suffering.

It can happen anywhere – at home, in a care home or a care home with nursing, a hospital, in the workplace, at a day centre or educational establishment, in supported housing or in the street.

Forms of abuse could be physical, sexual, psychological, emotional or financial. It could also cover the issues of neglect and institutional abuse – where the abuse affects more than one person within an organisation and is not addressed by the service’s management.

Who might be causing the abuse?
The person who is responsible for the abuse may be known to the person abused and could be:
• a paid carer or volunteer;
• a health worker, social care or other worker;
• a relative, friend or neighbour;
• another resident or service user;
• an occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service; or
• someone who deliberately exploits vulnerable people.

If you think someone is being abused call Essex County Council’s Adult Social Care Department on 0845 603 7630, or Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Department for People on 01702
215008. Your concerns will be taken seriously and will receive prompt attention, advice and support.

Alternatively, you can call AskSAL (The Safeguarding Adult Line) on 0845 266 6663. The AskSAL helpline was set up to give advice to people of Essex who are concerned about themselves or somebody they know. It is a partnership project between the Southend-on-Sea, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding Adults Boards and Essex County Council.

If the abuse is also a crime such as assault, racial harassment, rape or theft you should involve the police to prevent someone else from being abused. If the police are involved Adult Services
will work with them and with you to support you.

If you are worried about contacting the police you can contact Adult Services on 0845 603 7630 (Essex), 01702 215008 (Southend-on-Sea) or contact AskSAL to talk things over first. If
immediate action is needed dial 999.

You can also:

• Contact the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 03000 616161 if the vulnerable adult is living in a registered care home, care home with nursing or receiving home care services.

• Let a public service professional, such as a social worker, community nurse, GP, probation officer or district nurse know your concerns. They have responsibilities under the county’s adult protection procedure and can advise you about what to do next.

The Disclosure and Barring Service
There is a barring system for all those intending to work, or working with children and  vulnerable adults.

In December 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called
DBS checks.

This new organisation will provide a joined up, seamless service combining the criminal records checking and barring functions. Further legislative changes will come into force during 2014.  These details will be published on the DBS website. For disclosure information and services, visit the DBS homepage: www.gov.uk/dbs

Care home owners, domiciliary care agencies and employment agencies which supply care workers are required to request checks as part of a range of pre-employment checks, including disclosures from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Requests for such checks must be made to the DBS.

Care providers and suppliers of care workers are also required to refer workers to the DBS where, in their view, the individual has been guilty of misconduct that harmed or placed at risk of harm, a vulnerable adult. People who know they are confirmed on the list but seek employment in care positions will face criminal charges including possible imprisonment. It is also an offence for an employer or voluntary organisation knowingly to employ a barred person in a regulated activity role.