Community Care

Community Care is the term used to describe services provided by public authorities to adults and children to meet their needs arising from their disabilities. Services they may need could include assistance with care at home, respite care, adaptations to their property, care homes and nursing homes. 

Jemma Garside, our specialist Community Care solicitor has extensive experience of assisting individuals with disabilities and their family members dealing with issues related to their care needs.

Our clients face a wide variety of problems when dealing with public authorities in order to secure the support that they need. Read on to find out about the type of support that we could offer in dealing with these services.

Who can we help?

We advise clients, their carers, case managers and professional Deputies in securing services from statutory authorities. We have a wide client base and can assist a variety of individuals with cases including:

Children with Disabilities and their Parents

Caring for a child with disabilities can be hard work without any support in place. Many of our clients are often surprised to know that they may be entitled to help  from their local authority or the NHS; often they have been told that their child “doesn’t meet the criteria” or isn’t “eligible” but this is often not the case.

We can assist parents navigate the complex laws and procedures in order to access a wide range of help that they may need. This can help with both maximising the potential of the child and also ensuring that their parents can continue caring for their child without becoming exhausted, improving their overall quality of life.

The type of case that we specialise in includes:

  • NHS Continuing Healthcare
  • Local Authority Funding
  • Charges for Care
  • Hospital discharge issues
  • Residential Educational placements
  • Social Care Provision in EHCP

Dealing with authorities can be confusing and parents often find it hard to understand the processes involved, often feeling like they have to constantly fight to secure services their child should be entitled to.

We understand how difficult it can be for parents and the importance of being able to understand what is happening. We will provide you with clear advice throughout your case and support you so that you don’t feel that you are being left to fight alone. 

Support can come from either a local authority or NHS, depending on the child’s level of need.

Disabled Adults and their Carers

We help adults with needs for care and support and their carers in obtaining the services they are entitled to from public authorities.

We can assist clients navigate the complex laws and procedures in order for them to access a wide range of services. The type of support they may need could include specialist equipment, care or even a move to a specialist residential facility. 

The types of assistance we can assist clients in obtaining include:

  • NHS Continuing Care
  • Local Authority support
  • Mental Health aftercare
  • Court of Protection Welfare Orders

Dealing with authorities can be confusing and people can find it hard to understand the processes involved, often feeling like they have to constantly fight to secure services they are entitled to. People are also worried about the costs and how this may affect their loved ones.

We understand how difficult it can be and can guide you through every step. We will provide you with clear advice throughout your case. 

Support can come from either a local authority or NHS or both, depending on the adult’s level of need.

Care for the Elderly

Our elderly clients often come to us after years of being overlooked by statutory services leading them to crisis point.

We have considerable experience in providing clear and valuable advice to elderly individuals needing assistance with their community care issues.

The first contact with statutory services can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience for clients and their families, particularly when they have never had any dealings with them before. We can help relieve some of the confusion and anxiety that clients can feel by offering honest, impartial advice about their situation.

Clients that have come to us in the past have had issues including:

  • Being unable to manage at home due to lack of care and support leading to frequent hospital admissions
  • Delay in being discharged from hospital due to lack of co-operation between NHS and local authority when planning for discharge care arrangements
  • Being told that they must move into a care home against their wishes
  • Concerns around charges for care
  • Obtaining support for their carers
  • Best interests decisions for those who have lost capacity to make decisions about their residence and care

We ensure that our vulnerable clients are not overlooked and support them through these difficult issues. We have noticed that communication can be a key factor as clients are simply often not told what is happening so they do not know what to expect. We ensure that our clients are well-informed throughout and obtain the right outcome for them.

We recognise that clients will need to continue working with statutory services long after our involvement so will always do our best to ensure that the working relationship between the client and the services is not compromised. For this reason most cases are resolved, with a favourable outcome for our client, without the need to seek recourse from the Courts.

One of the most common concerns our clients have is whether they will have to pay for their care leaving their loved ones in financial jeopardy. We help our clients ensure that they only pay what the law requires them to pay and not a penny more.

There are occasions where our client’s health conditions are so severe that support from social services will not suffice. In these circumstances funding should come from the NHS but quite often the process of securing such funding is long and complicated. We can help this process, pushing for it to be placed on the “fast-track” where appropriate.

Former Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans

We work closely with veterans and their loved ones to secure assistance from statutory authorities. We recognise that the challenges they may face are unique and wide-ranging and requires specialist knowledge of the issues that could arise.

We have developed community links with charities and organisations supporting veterans which has allowed us to gain a better insight into the needs of veterans and their family members. The most common issues to arise include:

  • Getting the right support to live independently
  • Obtaining services required to aid the transition back to civilian life
  • Supporting family members and carers

Our wealth of experience ensures that our clients and their family members are fully advised of their rights.

What we do

We can assist clients in bringing challenges to statutory services. Our first step will be to establish whether there is an appropriate statutory complaint mechanism or whether the issue can be resolved through mediation.

The majority of cases will resolve amicably but in certain situations the cases have to be determined in the High Court in a Judicial Review or in the Court of Protection where the individual concerned lacks capacity to make decisions.

Common community care issues

There are a number of different issues that could arise in Community Care it is such a broad and diverse specialism. Some of the more common issues that we have assisted with include:

  • Refusals to assess needs
  • Delayed assessments
  • Disputes in respect of care provision offered by the authorities
  • Insufficient care packages
  • Premature withdrawal of support
  • Charges for services
  • Adaptations to the home to meet care needs
  • Direct payments and personal budgets
  • Arbitrary panel decisions

Community Care FAQs

  •  

    How do I know if I am entitled to assistance?

    The first stage in identifying whether any services are required to meet a person’s needs is  for the appropriate authority to carry out an assessment. This will establish what the needs are, what needs to be done to meet those needs and how that can be done. This will then result in the preparation of a care plan.

    We can assist you in ensuring that the appropriate statutory service is approached with an assessment request and that the process is as smooth as possible.

  • What is a Care Act Assessment?

    Following the implementation of the Care Act 2014 local authorities’ duties to adults with care needs and their carers is much clearer.

    The first stage in identifying whether any services are required is an assessment under Section 9 of the Care Act. You may be able to ask for this yourself. This will establish what your needs are, what can to be done to meet those needs and how that can be done. This will then result in the preparation of a care plan.

    Carers now also have a legal right to a carers assessment. This may identify whether they are entitled to receive assistance such as practical support, equipment and respite.

    The assessment process can be daunting and confusing. Sometimes people are refused assistance before an assessment has even been undertaken. People are often concerned that the correct procedure was not followed and therefore conclusions are reached that are not lawful.

    We have a great deal of experience in advising people through the assessment process and challenging outcomes which are unjust.

  • What will happen after the Assessment?

    Once the assessment has been completed the next stage is for a Care Plan to be produced. This will identify what your needs are, what will be done by the Authority to meet those needs and how that can be done. It should also include a section explaining the needs that they cannot meet and why.

    You may also be asked to engage in a financial assessment at this time to determine if you should pay for some or all of your care.

  • How long will it take for a Local Authority to provide me with support?

    There is no statutory timescale for an assessment. However, it must be carried out within a reasonable period of time which we expect to be between 4-6 weeks. You should be advised of the likely timescale at the outset of the assessment process.

  • What is a Decision Support Tool or DST?

    Adults with complex health needs may be eligible for continuing healthcare. This is where the NHS pays for all of the costs of caring for the adults health-related needs.

    The first stage in obtaining this funding is by requesting an assessment. A Multi-Disciplinary team will be allocated to complete a Decision Support Tool (DST). The team will be made up of professionals from both the health and social care fields. They will use their clinical skill; expertise and evidence-based professional judgement to consider what needs you have in the specialist domains.

    They will be assessing whether there is a duty, not the package of care they believe you will need. There are different levels of need in the domains and once the score has been obtained they will be considered alongside the nature, unpredictability, intensity and complexity of the needs to reach an agreed recommendation for funding. This will then be put to the funding body for approval.

    We can help you prepare for this process.

  • How long will it take for the DST to be approved?

    The statutory timeframe for a DST is 28 working days. If you have experienced delays then we may be able to assist you in requesting that it be expedited.

  • What is the process for getting assistance for my disabled child?

    Children with disabilities are legally defined as “children in need” under the Children Act 1989. This means that all local authorities have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their wellbeing. In meeting this duty they are required to promote the upbringing of children by their families by providing a range of services to meet those children’s needs.

    The first stage in identifying whether any services are required to meet a child’s needs is a child in need assessment. This will establish what the child’s needs are, what needs to be done to meet those needs and how that can be done. This will then result in the preparation of a child in need plan.

    Parents with children in need also have a right to a carers assessment. This may identify whether they are entitled to receive assistance such as practical support, equipment and respite.

    The assessment process can be daunting and confusing. Parents are often concerned that the correct procedure was not followed and therefore conclusions are reached that are not lawful.

    We have a great deal of experience in advising parents through the assessment process and challenging outcomes which are unjust.

  • How do I challenge an assessment?

    This will depend on the assessment that you have had. There is currently no appeals process for local authority assessments so the first stage will be to consider whether to challenge it through a complaint or a Judicial Review, this will depend on the seriousness of the failings.

    NHS Continuing Healthcare - If a decision is reached to refuse funding we can investigate the merits of an appeal and assist you. The appeals process is twofold; firstly there will be a Local Resolutions Meeting and if you still disagree with the outcome then an Independent Review Panel can be convened through NHS England. We can provide advice and representation throughout this process.

    If eligibility for support is agreed we can advise you on options for the delivery of that support challenge any delays in implementing it and challenge a care package if you feel it is inadequate.

  • What is a Judicial Review?

    A. Judicial review is a process by which the courts review the lawfulness of a decision made (or sometimes lack of a decision made) or action taken (or sometimes failure to act) by a public body. It is mechanism by which a judge considers whether a public body has acted in accordance with its legal obligations and if not, can declare a decision taken by it to be invalid.

    Decisions by public bodies can be challenged on a number of grounds. If:-

    • It has acted in a manner which is in breach of the law;
    • It has acted unreasonably; or
    • It has breached the human rights of the person involved.
  • What decisions can the Court of Protection about residence and care?

    The Court of Protection can also make decisions regarding the health and welfare of those lacking capacity to make complex decisions including medication treatment, residence and care. Where there is a dispute between family members and/or statutory authorities in respect of such issues an application can be made for the Court to determine what is in the best interests of the individual concerned.

    Parents of children with long-term disabilities may have concerns that once their child reaches the age of 18 they will no longer have parental responsibility for them. They may wish to explore the powers that the Court could grant them in the decision making for their child post 18.

    We can assist you at every stage of the process, from dealing with concerns before Court applications are made to representing you at the final hearing.

    Health and Welfare deputyships, although rare, can be applied for in exceptional circumstances. We can advise you on whether we believe you should make an application taking into consideration all of the necessary factors in the case.

  • I own my home; will I have to pay for the care I receive?

    NHS funding should be free at the point of delivery. We can advise you if you are being charged for services that should be free.

    Local Authorities’ have a duty to charge for the services they provide to those with savings over £23,250. Those with less money may have to pay a contribution towards the cost of their care.

    Often the charges are unaffordable because local authorities have not taken all of the circumstances into account.

    There are certain assets that local authorities cannot take into consideration in the financial assessment for social care in certain circumstances such as the home, personal injury trusts, certain types of investment bonds with life assurance elements, etc.

    We can investigate the relevant legislation and advise you on whether the charging provisions have been lawfully applied.

  • Will I have to sell my home to pay for my care fees?

    Your ability to pay for care provided by a Local Authority will be determined through a means test taking into account all of your circumstances, including whether you own the home jointly with someone else.

    Your home will not be included if you're arranging care and support at home and may not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60.

    Local Authorities have a duty to charge for the services they provide to those with savings over £23,250. Those with less money may have to pay a contribution towards the cost of their care.

  • I received an award for a Personal Injury, will I have to pay for my care?

    The evolving law on double recovery is strict and makes it harder to obtain state funded care where there has been a personal injury award to include the costs of a care package.
    However, in cases where the claimant recovers less than 100% of the full value of their claim or the cost of care is greater than the award they may need to seek assistance from the local authority. Advice from a specialist solicitor should be obtained.

  • Why is my discharge from hospital being delayed?

    When a loved one returns home from a long stay in hospital it can be a daunting process for them and their family to get to grips with their new routine, taking into account their care needs.

    Often clients will need adaptations to be made to their home or specialist trained carers to provide care. However, issues often arise where the Local Authority and NHS are in dispute as to who should fund the adaptations or care package or where they have failed to communicate with each other to arrange services.

    We can guide you through the process; helping you identify which method of funding would be most suitable and dealing with any unnecessary delays caused by the authorities.

  • What are your fees?

    Your first contact with us will be a free telephone conversation. During this conversation we will discuss your options, what you can do yourself, whether you really need further advice and possible costs.

    If you need further advice we can offer an initial meeting to discuss your case in more detail. The initial meeting is normally between 1 and 1 ½ hours for which we charge £300 + VAT. Once you have had a chance to consider all available options, you can then decide to instruct us to do as little, or as much, as you want.

    We will charge on the basis of an hourly rate which is £220 + VAT (as of 1 January 2018).

    As we only do what you want us to, the cost of your matter is entirely in your control. We are happy to discuss your budget and what we can do to help you within that budget.

  • What are disbursements?

    Disbursements are any costs associated with your case which are not our fees. They can be costs for independent experts such as social workers, clinicians and therapists. We only advise that you seek expert advice when it is absolutely necessary to your case.

    As we are highly experiences and specialised community care solicitors, we do not use barristers to present your case at the IRP. This will save your fees, make sure that you have consistent support and that you are represented by a solicitor who fully knows your case. If your case does proceed to a Judicial Review a barrister would be required. 

  • Are your costs very high? Can I afford you?

    We make sure that your costs stay under control.

    If you decide to instruct us, we will normally ask for up to £2,000 on account. We place this in your ‘client account’ and we only use it when we raise an invoice for work we have done. Every month, we will send you an invoice detailing the work completed, the cost of that work, and the balance left in your client account. If appropriate, we will also suggest further payment into client account for future work.

    We understand that costs are one of the biggest concerns when approaching a solicitor. We do as much as possible to help you achieve your desired outcome within your budget.

  • Do you offer legal aid?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to offer advice funded by legal aid. There is an online calculator to work out whether you would be eligible for legal aid. If you are seeking advice via legal aid, you must do so by contacting Civil Legal Advice on 0845 345 4345.

     

The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

Boyes Turner client

Get in touch

Please get in touch 0800 124 4845

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