Mrs R. is living with dementia and moved to a care home approximately one year ago when it became clear that her health and care needs could no longer be effectively and safely managed in her own home.
During her time at the care home she had become more physically and mentally frail and the care home staff had requested the support of the Community Mental Health Team in managing the more challenging aspects of her behaviour.
Her daughter, Mrs M, had recently read about funding from the NHS in a newspaper article about care fees funding and she contacted me to enquire whether this may be applicable to her mother.
I was able to explain NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding to her and on further discussion it transpired that the first of the two stage assessment process for this level of funding had already taken place several weeks before and that that the second was due to follow at a meeting at the care home the next month. However this process and the purpose of the meeting had not been made very clear to her despite the fact that she was her mother’s closest representative.
I explained the different services that I provide and we agreed that an Independent Health and Care Needs Assessment would be the best way for her to fully understand Mrs R’s care needs, in the context of NHS Continuing Healthcare funding, in readiness for the meeting at the care home.
Having first considered the steps I needed to take to comply with the Mental Capacity Act, I conducted my Independent Health and Care Needs Assessment at the home. My assessment took into account the views of the manager and three members of staff who were responsible for the day to day delivery of Mrs R’s care, the content of her care plan and risk assessments and of course the views of Mrs M. who was a regular visitor to the home.
My assessment scrutinised social, personal care and nursing needs in order to identify well met need, unmet need, suggested additional support and likely eligibility for financial support with direct reference to the Local Authority and NHS eligibility criteria and tools. I was able to make recommendations based on an evaluation of all information gathered and I concluded that there was a case to answer for NHS Continuing Healthcare Funding.
I was also able to make suggestions to the care home staff about how the documentary evidence of the care needs they had described to me could be improved in time for the meeting with the health and social care professionals the following month.
Mrs M. received a copy of my assessment and we made time to discuss my findings in advance of the meeting. At her request I attended on the day and in addition to my own input I observed first-hand how she was able to contribute effectively to the discussions about her mother’s health and care needs with the health and social care professionals involved in her care, from an informed perspective.
My Independent Health and Care Needs Assessment provided an opportunity for an independent review of Mrs R’s health and care needs, gave Mrs M. the confidence she needed at the NHS Continuing Healthcare meeting but also Mrs R. the best possible chance of being awarded NHS Continuing Healthcare funding.