A Cwmbran woman is urging families to register care home claims before the deadline of 31st October after successfully recovering over £50,000 on behalf of her late mother.
Patricia Jackson’s mother, Pearl Collins, passed away in 2013 after being put into care for Dementia.
Mrs Collins spent time in two care facilities due to her illness, and Ms Jackson claimed that her family was not provided with a suitable assessment of her mother’s health or medical needs for eligibility for NHS continuing health care (CHC).
CHC is a package of care arranged by the NHS which can be received by a patient either in a nursing home, care home, hospital or in their family home.
If a patient is considered to be eligible for CHC, the NHS will fully fund that patient’s care. Those residing within nursing home facilities must be assessed for CHC on an annual basis, while those residing in residential care homes must request assessment.
To find out if she was eligible to make a claim on behalf of her mother, Ms Jackson contacted leading law firm Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, who have been successful in recovering over a quarter of a million pounds in wrongly paid care home fees for clients over the last 12 months.
Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, with offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool, then obtained all Mrs Collins’s medical and care records. They reviewed them and considered that the family were entitled to recover care home fees and so put forward a claim on their behalf.
In Ms Jackson’s case, following Watkins & Gunn’s claim, her mother was deemed to have been eligible for continuing health care funding from the NHS, and the family was reimbursed the costs for her mother’s time in care.
Patricia Jackson said that she was relieved to have closure on the situation, stating: “We had no idea how problematic this whole situation could become. We were completely in the dark.”
“The decision to put my Mother into care was taken out of our hands, placing significant strain on the family due to the expensive care fees. Being able to recover the fees has been extremely important to our family, and my Mother’s money has now been passed on to us as she intended, rather than spent on her care costs.”
“I can’t speak highly enough of Watkins & Gunn Solicitors; We would not have been able to do this without their help. They made sure that we felt informed, cared for and went out of their way to accommodate my family.”
Care home patients may be eligible for a full or partial refund of wrongly paid fees, depending on their health and care needs.
Once a claim is registered, the patient/family’s legal representatives will obtain the necessary information such as GP, hospital and care home records. This information is passed to the health board, who come to a formal decision regarding the claim. The health board will use the records to make an award based on the level of an individual’s need.
The criteria assessed will include a range of factors such as behaviour, communication, cognition, mobility, nutrition and medication. These factors in addition to the consideration of the totality of the patient’s needs will help the health board establish whether someone is, or has been, eligible for NHS continuing health care.
Ashleigh Woodward, a specialist in care claims at Watkins & Gunn Solicitors, says more needs to be done to make people aware of continuing healthcare: “This is a common problem, especially in Wales. Most people are not aware of the claims deadline, and don’t know where to start when it comes to establishing eligibility.
“The deadline to recover care fees that were paid between 1 October 2014 and 30 October 2015 is fast approaching, and we would encourage people to register their claims as soon as possible.”
For further information orto register a claim to recover care home fees call 0800 328 0394 or go to www.watkinsandgunn.co.uk/care