Relatives face care homes means test

A leading charity is to means-test the relatives of people living at its residential care homes to try to bridge a council funding gap.

Jewish Care says it faces an average 200-a-week shortfall between the funding provided by councils for care places and the costs.

Like most providers, it must routinely ask for third-party contributions. And if relatives are unable to find the cash, they are asked for financial information, which is combined with national data on household expenditure to calculate how much they can pay.

The charity’s director of communications, Justine Harris, said the shortfall was high because of the quality of care provided but nobody would be denied a service because of their income.

She added: “We have to turn to the families of those we are caring for. If they feel it’s out of their budget we ask for some basic financial information in order for us to assess if there’s a lower level of contribution that could be made.”

Philip Spiers, managing director of advice body Nursing Home Fees Agency, said it was the first time he had heard of the approach.

He suggested that Jewish Care should tell local authorities not to set an arbitrary rate if they could not buy care for that price in the area.

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