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Care home operators ‘need guidance’

Care home operators are being encouraged to provide more support to help residents navigate the minefield of red tape many face.

Care homes, residents and family members face what an expert is calling a ‘daily challenge’ in relation to the increasing cost of care and the often difficult decisions which need to be taken.

Many care homes are called on to answer questions and give guidance on challenging issues including lasting powers of attorney, estate planning, letters of wishes and other complex areas of the law.

Kathryn Harwood, head of Wills & Estate Planning at Napthens solicitors, warns that to offer the best advice, care operators should seek professional guidance.

She said: “There are many sources of information available, from GPs to charities, but increasingly care homes are being expected to act as one-stop-shops for information for residents and their relatives and this can be a daily challenge.

“Increasing amounts of red tape, and growing issues caused by an aging population and the cost of care, has meant more and more people are coming into contact with care homes with complex financial circumstances and decisions to make.

“Staff and managers at these homes are often the first point of contact for many people, and it’s important they are armed with the latest, clear information.

“They may receive enquiries about Wills, and letter of wishes to provide guidance to executors and trustees; or lasting powers of attorney to take care of financial and health-related decisions should an individual lose capacity to do so themselves. These are challenging issues.

“We recommend that care providers keep a check list of the key topics likely to be faced, and information packs on each area.

“They should ask; is it time to review a Will, is financial planning advice required, is assistance needed with a property sale and is a court order required by the Court of Protection?

“At Napthens we have produced a number of relevant guides on such issues that have been welcomed by many of our clients in the care sector.”

For more information contact Kerry Beswick, Napthens’ care homes liaison manager, on 01772 904392.