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[stextbox id=”alert” caption=”Sunday 18th June, 2017 – The Telegraph”]The Telegraph

Care crisis: this is why Britain’s care homes are charging the dead

Part of the CMA’s investigation focuses on the terms of contracts that families enter into when family members enter a care home. The watchdog is concerned that homes may be breaking the law by charging large upfront fees when it’s not clear what services they relate to.

The inquiry is also looking at cases where care homes continue to collect fees after the person in care has died. In some instances homes are filling beds still being paid for by other families, it is alleged.

But Ray Hart of Valuing Care, a consultancy that negotiates fees on behalf of councils and individuals, said the bigger issue was homes’ ability to raise charges by as much as they like.

He said: “The biggest problem is the fact that homes have the ability to increase fees by what they call ‘reasonable costs’ no matter what.

“There are cost pressure on them of course but basically these are open-ended contracts and each year they can raise the cost by as much as they like and they don’t give breakdowns explaining the increases.”

Average weekly self-funded fees for residential care homes with nursing care are now more than £1,000 for the first time, a report by analyst LaingBuisson found last month. The figure is £700 a week for self-payers in homes without nursing care and just £486 for state-funded residents.

Care homes in parts of the country where there are fewer self-funders, such as northern England, are under most pressure, said Mr Hart. “The market is more stretched than at any point in my 20 years of working in the care industry, especially where there are no self-funders,” he said.

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