Laura Sharman 11 January 2018

Councils urged to be clear on care home costs

Councils have been reminded to give families accurate information about care home fees by the ombudsman, following a complaint against Lincolnshire County Council.

A family had complained they were forced to pay a 'top-up' fee when their father was placed in a care home as an emergency. An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman found the council had failed to give the family a choice of care home and had unclear information about care home fees on its website.

'Councils have a duty to provide accurate information to families about care home placements,' said Michael King, local government and social care ombudsman. '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.

'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 ombudsman has called on the council to review its procedures and top-up fee contract, and apologise and compensate the family.

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