Care homes in Somerset
In Somerset, some care homes are also Specialised Residential Care Homes (SRC Homes).
These are residential care homes that specialise for people with advanced dementia but who do not have nursing needs.
They are a specific type of home only available in Somerset. SRC Homes are provided through a joint venture between the local authority and Somerset Partnership NHS and Social Care Trust through specific contracts.
The Trust employs Specialist Care Development Nurses (SCDNs) who support residents in these specialised care homes and provide advice and support to the care staff. They are involved in discussing the needs of possible new residents and ensuring that they meet the criteria for SRC.
This makes sure that the chosen home is suitable for them, and that the overall dependency levels in the home can be managed by the staff who work there.
They will agree whether the home is suitable for all new residents, but the home will make the final decision when they have completed their pre-admission assessment. You will need a social care assessment to determine eligibility for SRC.
Care home contracts – independent advice
Somerset Council suggests you consult an independent solicitor before signing any care home contracts, to make sure that the terms are fair and you understand your rights and obligations.
You may also want to take independent financial advice.
The Law Society has lists of solicitors who specialise in advice for older people.
Needs assessments in Somerset
You can have a needs assessment in Somerset if you appear to have a need for care and support.
How to get an assessment from Somerset County Council
The best way to get an assessment from Somerset County Council is to visit a Community Connect centre. Alternatively, you, or a friend, relative or a health professional like your GP (if they have your permission), can ask for an assessment by phoning: 0300 123 2224.
Somerset’s Direct Payment Advisory Service
The council has a contract with an independent Somerset Directory Payment Advisory Service, which has specially-trained staff available to support people who have Direct Payments.
Everyone new to the direct payment scheme should meet or talk with one of their experienced advisers. They can:
- visit you at home to explain the help they can provide;
- discuss your responsibilities as a Direct Payment user;
- support you to advertise for and recruit staff;
- leave advice on how to complete a risk assessment for the people you employ
- offer a payroll service, if you employ someone
- help and explain how to keep financial records to show what you have spent; and
- be at the end of a phone if you need advice.
When you join the scheme, someone from the Direct Payment Advisory Service can support you through the whole process. They will assist you with your first financial return and support you to understand what you need to do for future returns. The adviser is there to support you once your arrangements are set up and if you have any problems or concerns.
If you would like to know more about Direct Payments, read the information leaflets ‘C2: Direct Payments: An introduction’ and ‘C3: Direct Payments guidance’.
Alternatively, talk to your social care worker if you have one, or phone on: 0300 123 2224.
Fee levels in Somerset from April 2017
The fee levels in Somerset are the maximum amount the council usually pays towards care costs in residential care.
The current amount is £471.75 each week for residential care and £523.20 for nursing care (excluding NHS Nursing Care Contribution), but the exact figure will depend on your assessed needs.
To find out more, see the information sheet ‘D2: Paying for Residential Care’.
The Mental Capacity Act
The Mental Capacity Act requires us to assume that people have capacity and can make decisions themselves, unless otherwise established. A person will be given all possible help to make specific decisions before being assessed as lacking capacity to make their own decisions.
If the council thinks someone may lack capacity to make a decision even after being offered practical support, a social worker or other suitably qualified person will carry out a capacity assessment in relation to the specific decision to be made.
Where it has been assessed that a person lacks capacity for a particular decision, decisions will be made in their best interest. Any restrictions because of this decision will be in the person’s best interest and will be proportionate to the likelihood of the person suffering harm as a result of the decision.
Planning will always continue to involve the person as far as possible, taking account of their wishes, feelings, values and aspirations as well as their needs and wellbeing.
They may be supported and represented by family and friends. If this is not possible, an independent advocate will be appointed. The advocate will represent the person, speak for them and challenge the local authority’s decision if necessary.
Financial assessments and charging
The council will find out if there is an appropriate person to represent the person who lacks capacity.
This could be through:
- enduring power of attorney (EPA);
- lasting power of attorney (LPA) for property and affairs;
- LPA for health and welfare;
- property and affairs deputyship under the Court of Protection;
- health and welfare deputyship under the Court of Protection; or
- any other person dealing with the person’s affairs (for example, someone who has been given appointee-ship by the Department for Work and Pensions for the purpose of benefit payments).
If none of these is in place, family members or their solicitor will be encouraged to apply for a property and affairs deputyship through the Court of Protection.
If there is no one else who can act for the person, the council will make an application to the Court of Protection and assume the role as their deputy.
It will apply to be the person’s corporate appointee in respect of their welfare benefits with the Department for Work and Pensions and will charge an administration fee for this service.
Until there is an appropriate person appointed and full access to the person’s financial affairs can be obtained, no financial assessment will take place.
If there is no access to the person’s finances to make care and support payments, the council can make these payments as a loan until an appointee or deputy is in place and a full financial assessment can be completed.
The following will apply:
- if capital is over £23,250, the council will expect the full fee to be repaid;
- if capital is less than £23,250, the council will expect the assessed contribution to be repaid;
- if benefits became available during the corporate appointeeship application period, the council will expect them to be repaid, backdated to when they became available; and
- if there is a top-up there must be someone willing to pay.