Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the long term care system in the UK is the breadth and quality of informal and formal carers for those individuals who find out that they do, or will, in fact need some kind of care or assistance during their later years. In 2011, the Dilnot Report was released and focused on the reform in social care funding in England. The report was the culmination of the work done by an independent committee given the task of reviewing the social care funding system in England. The report highlighted the importance of informal and formal carers for those for those in long term care.
What is long term care is a growing social question and needs addressing. There is an increasing amount of information and support being made accessible to the public by a number of organisations. There are charitable organisations such as Age UK that provide help and advice for carers. This includes practical advice such as legal advice, as well as information about carers’ allowance, and how the funding system actually works. You can also find information and support on other issues related to managing the responsibility of being a caregiver. Providing care for someone who is ill or has failing health can be quite tiring and demanding.
There are some practical guidelines to follow when operating as a caregiver:
• Assist people in maintaining their current living environment as much as possible. These are the standards to which they have grown accustomed and they should remain that way for as long as they can. This is usually very important to the person who is receiving the care.
• Use local services to provide additional help for people. These services are usually a facet of the community and can help engage those who are in long term care.
• Capitalize on the individual’s personal budget as much as possible in an effort to get them everything they need to remain comfortable.
• Treat those in long term care with the same dignity and respect as those who are not in care situations. It takes a great caregiver to do this but is really important when treating those in long term care. Aging in a dignified way is something that all individuals should have an opportunity to do.
For those who are looking for answers to their long term care questions or to questions surrounding how to pick a long term carer, or how to provide care for someone who is ill, there is a great deal of information available via a number of different sources.
In terms of funding basic long term care, the NHS does provide a free service known as NHS continuing healthcare for those who are eligible to receive it. Qualification for this benefit is subject to a comprehensive needs test. This assessment aims to gauge the nature of the applicable healthcare needs and to ascertain whether it involves a primary care need related to the current health status. The NHS Choices website offers in-depth explanations as to what to expect when applying for the benefit. The website also explains different funding options, and how to use the NHS most effectively. This information can be useful to those who need long term care, know someone who needs care, or is actually giving care to a loved one.
NHS Choices does provide some exclusive information and advice for caregivers and those in care. This includes information on all aspects of long term care – including what to expect from the different types of care settings; what to expect from residential and nursing care homes; how to choose the right care home etc. It also provides useful advice and support for those providing long term care on how to manage the responsibility, both practically as well as emotionally.
For information about the types of funding available for care – as well as information about self-funding long term care – a specialist adviser can always be consulted. Most of the time, an independent financial adviser should be consulted as to what the best options are for each individual situation. No two situations are ever the same and that means that there is no one size fits all solution to providing long term care. Benefits and needs can change from person to person and will require a specialized assessment and evaluation in order ot receive the best care possible for an amount that is affordable. Independent advisers with expertise in the field of long term care can provide objective, up-to-date and professional advice on the financial management of long term care.