Nursing homes lose out over ‘free’ care

It has been a “difficult year” for the nursing home sector since
“free” nursing care for self-funding residents was introduced 12
months ago, Frank Ursell, chief executive officer at the Registered
Nursing Home Association, said last week.

Ursell said that the introduction of the policy “led to
anticipation from patients that has not been met.” He said that
people came out of hospital where care had been free of charge and
went into a nursing home under the impression that “free nursing
care” meant just that, only to find that the maximum contribution
they could receive was £110.

He added that there was variation in assessments by nurses. Around
48 per cent of patients in Shropshire were assessed as needing the
highest band of funding compared with just 12 per cent in

In addition Ursell described the initiative as a “bureaucratic
nightmare” for nursing home owners. Money for the extra
administrative duties had not been passed on to homes by primary
care trusts he said, with financial consequences for residents.

“If the home needs another person one day a month then that cost
will be spread across the patients,” he explained.

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