Ombudsman warns councils to be clear on care home costs

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A warning has been issued to councils to be clear on care home costs following a complaint against Lincolnshire County Council.

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found a family was not told about possibilities available to them when their father was placed in a care home as an emergency.

Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said: “Councils have a duty to provide accurate information to families about care home placements. This is particularly important at times such as this where families do not have the luxury of being able to plan for their relative’s care.

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“We issued a focus report on this subject in 2015 and I would encourage anyone working in the field to have a look at the good practice guidance it contains, and check their own policies and procedures to ensure they comply with the Care Act.”

The investigation found that the family had been forced to pay a top-up fee for their father when they should have given the option of a home which did not require an additional amount.

They were then threatened with eviction when they struggled to pay the fees.

The Ombudsman found the council had unclear information about care home fees on its website and asked it to review its procedures to prevent the situation arising again.

The Ombudsman ordered the council to pay the family’s £65 top up fee and an additional £600 for distress caused and for having to bring the complaint.

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