Funding the cost of care

11 June 2024

Care is expensive, NHS England say that average costs of care at home range from £20.57 - £33.89 per hour. Even if some state funding is available it is important to claim damages to allow liefetime care needs to be met privately

The costs of commercial care are a key issue in our work assisting clients who have suffered injury as a result of clinical negligence or a personal injury.

They have often suffered life changing injuries and frequently require lifetime assistance with everyday tasks from carers, which is expensive to fund.

Funding care

Some state funding is available for limited amounts of care through Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Carer’s Allowance and local authority funded social care payments but the last two are means tested.

Even if clients are financially eligible for some state funding, the ability to pay for their own care provides very important security, choice, flexibility, and scope of care. When we are investigating a claim, we seek advice from a care expert to work out our clients’ care requirements at various stages of their lives so that they are in a position to pay their own care costs. The expert provides an estimate of the likely current costs of care.

Case management

Where we have obtained an interim damages payment, it is important to employ a private case manager at an early stage as they are experienced in sourcing good quality carers. The case manager is either employed directly or through an agency. This enables us to test the actual local rates for carers which were estimated by the care expert. It is then possible to give the court evidence of actual costs.

Care is expensive: NHS England says that average cost of care at home ranges from £20.57 - £33.89 per hour. The cost for home care for a couple is around £1,800 per week. Care homes cost an average of £800 per person per week rising to £1,078 per week for a nursing home specialist place. The television presenter, Kate Garraway, recently spoke to the BBC about having to deal with debt arising from care costs of £16,000 per month for her late husband.

Compensation payments

There are two alternatives for payment of compensation. The traditional way is for all damages to be paid in a lump sum. This involves calculating the current cost of care on a yearly basis, then the future costs; we must then work out what lump sum is required to meet a lifetime need.

A lump sum is usually based on an assumption about the likely life expectancy of the injured person and the likely return on investment they might receive on that lump sum. On one hand having a lump sum is attractive because it gives the maximum amount of flexibility. On the other hand, it creates more uncertainty about whether the money will last for their lifetime as they may outlive their predicted life span and/or the investments of the lump sum may not perform as expected. Another uncertainty is whether the predicted amount needed on an annual basis for someone's care requirements will keep pace with the rate of inflation for care costs.

The other alternative is to claim only part of the damages as a lump sum to purchase accommodation and equipment, with the remainder as regular payments made every three months. These periodical payments can be made for a fixed number of years or for the remainder of the person's lifetime. Having care costs in the form of quarterly payments for life reduces flexibility and cash flow but has the advantage that there will be security in knowing the money will continue for life and it will not run out if you happen to outlive average life expectancy. Another advantage of this form of damages is that the amounts of the payments can be increased in line with actual inflation in the cost of care, reducing the danger of care cost inflation making damages inadequate to meet the costs.

Nicholas Tubb, medical negligence partner at Shoosmiths comments:

“In a recent settlement of a claim involving a severe spinal injury, I obtained a mix of lump sum damages to set up my client’s purchase and adaptation of a suitable house, and to purchase equipment, and periodical payments for ongoing losses for the remainder of their life. The periodical payments were index-linked for inflation of care costs. The regular payments were also set at increasing amounts as the care needs increased with age. This combination ensures that all my client’s needs will be met for the rest of their life and provides much needed peace of mind.”

If you or a loved one has suffered a life-changing injury and think you have a claim for compensation, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion. We will take the time to understand your situation and advise you on the best course of action for you.

Related pages:

A guide to periodical payments | Shoosmiths
Serious Injury Solicitors, Serious Injury Claim Lawyers | Shoosmiths
Help | No Win No Fee Claims Solicitors | Shoosmiths

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Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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