A new report by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) on social care has highlighted a need for councils to provide better support for self-funded elderly care.
Although the report focuses on those in care homes, the many of the findings have broader relevance for all those who fund their own elderly care, including those who opt for live-in care.
The report highlights two main shortcomings – firstly, local government does not adequately signpost the various benefits and funding options for elderly care. Secondly, certain councils do not provide temporary care to self-funders, nor is enough information on different forms of elderly care made available.
The report does highlight ways in which the situation is improving: 59% of councils know the number of self-funders falling back on local government funding for care (up from 39% in 2011); all councils now provide some sort of basic financial information following a needs assessment (up from 55%); and 47% will provide referral to a firm or panel of independent financial advisers following an assessment (up from 6%).
Despite these areas of improvement, the report also draws attention to several issues that need to be addressed in the future, such as the failure of 50% of authorities to provide a referral to an independent advice or advocacy service before a needs or financial assessment, as the Care Bill is expected to require.
The report found significant variation in service between councils, so specific circumstances and provisions for self-funders may vary considerably between local authority areas.