Decision : Upheld
Decision date : 10 Nov 2020
Summary: Ms M has been living in a care home, where she had been paying for her own care. When her capital reduced to £23,250 on 1 January 2018, she became eligible for Council funding. However, Ms M complains that when her capital reduced to £23,250, it took a long time for the Council to agree a personal budget that would be enough to continue to meet her needs. Instead, the Council told her she should move to a cheaper care home, even though the care homes offered by the Council were unsuitable and her GP said it would be detrimental for her mental and physical wellbeing to move to another home.
The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.
The Council has agreed to:
- apologise to Ms M and her daughter for the faults identified above and the distress these caused her daughter. It should also pay her daughter, Ms C £200;
- pay the full fees for Ms M’s care at the care home, from 1 January 2018 until 1 May 2018, minus Ms M’s assessed weekly contribution;
- reimburse any solicitor fees incurred in the days running up to 24 April 2018, subject to evidence provided of such costs by Ms C; and
- share the lessons learned with staff in its adult social care and finance teams.
The Council should within three months of the date of this report put a mechanism and staff guidance in place to ensure that, when the Council has to consider moving a vulnerable or frail elderly resident to another more affordable residential home, because the resident’s capital has reduced to £23,250:
- it carries out an assessment of the risk to the person’s wellbeing of such a move, with input from relevant stakeholders. The assessment should decide what impact a move is likely to have on the resident, and therefore whether a move should go ahead. The Council’s view should then be discussed with the resident (and their family);
- it immediately looks into any concerns raised by the client (or their family) that the home(s) offered are not suitable, to determine if/that a home offered is suitable and willing to accept the client at the Council’s proposed rate (personal budget). Once it has verified this, it should discuss this with the client (or their family); and
- the client (or their family) have enough time to find a home and move to another home, before the resident’s capital falls below £23,250.
Ombudsman satisfied with Council's response: 11 February 2021.