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How to pay for a nursing home: A guide

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How to pay for a nursing home: A guide

Fonthill House - Hertfordshire

There are around 410,000 people in the UK living in nursing homes across the UK. The government calculates that there are approximately 5,500 different providers in the UK operating 11,300 care homes for the elderly. Around half of the people living in nursing homes in the UK pay for their care themselves, and the rest are supported fully or partially by their local authority or the NHS.

Before paying for a nursing home, the first step is to get a free needs assessment from your local authority. Whether you intend to self-fund or not, getting a needs assessment from your local authority can provide you and your family with information on the time of care you will need to help choose the perfect nursing home for you. You can apply for a needs assessment by calling the council or applying online. 

When will the local authority pay for a nursing home?

Your local authority will decide if you’re eligible for financial support for your care by undertaking a free needs assessment to work out the level of care you’ll require. After they’ve assessed your needs, your local authority will carry out a financial assessment. They will look at your savings and income and decide whether you’re eligible for financial support towards your care.

If your savings are under £14,250, the local authority will pay for all of your care. If your savings are between £14,250 and £23,250, you’ll need to pay for part of your care, and if you have over £23,250 in savings, you’ll need to pay yourself. 

If you are eligible for financial support from your local authority, they will send you a selection of nursing homes that will suit your needs. However, if you want to live in a nursing home that’s more expensive than the one you’ve been offered, a relative or friend can offer to pay the excess. This is often known as a third-party top-up fee. 

Self-funding a nursing home

You will have to arrange and pay for a nursing home yourself if you have savings over the £23,250 cap, have a regular income that’s sufficient to cover your nursing home fees or don’t qualify for local authority funding because your needs aren’t eligible. 

If you don’t qualify for financial support, it’s still a good idea to get a needs assessment done. It’s free and can help you and your family better understand the type of care you’ll require. Your local authority can provide information on different nursing homes and keep a record of your care needs. 

When will the NHS cover the cost of a nursing home?

The NHS will cover the cost of care if you meet their strict eligibility criteria. If you have ongoing, complex healthcare needs, you could be eligible for NHS continuing care. The scheme covers the total cost of nursing homes for people who have suitable needs. The criteria is strict, but it is worth applying if you think you might be eligible.  The NHS also offers the NHS-funded Nursing Care scheme. This is funding provided by the NHS to cover the cost of care by a registered nurse in a nursing home. Nursing homes usually employ their own registered nurses; however, if you have been assessed as needing nursing care, the NHS will pay the home a standard rate for the nursing element of care. It won’t pay for the other care home costs, such as the accommodation.
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