The Rip Off Britain couple who used their mother’s entire estate to fund care, leaving nothing for her grandchildren. They weren’t told about the free care funding from the NHS.

Posted on: September 27th, 2016 by Tim Saunders

Beacon’s Managing Director, Dan Harbour, blogs about his appearance on BBC One’s Rip Off Britain, and the sadly familiar tale that’s leaving families with enormous care costs.

Many months ago I was asked to record an interview for BBC One’s consumer affairs programme Rip Off Britain. They were putting together a feature on NHS continuing healthcare, and this morning the episode aired.

The programme followed Mr and Mrs Pearson, who are facing a long, tough, battle to reclaim the quarter of a million pounds that Mr Pearson’s elderly mother – Kath – had to pay for her care.

In 2006 the Pearsons realised they could no longer look after Kath themselves. She’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years earlier and had reached the point where she wasn’t safe to live at home. They decided to admit her to a residential care home.

The Pearsons recalled that they sat down with the social care people and talked about how they would pay for Kath’s care. Not once was NHS funding for ongoing care needs – called NHS continuing healthcare – mentioned or explained to them.

This is a disappointingly familiar story to us at Beacon. Even after more than a decade of NHS continuing healthcare being in place, there is a poor understanding of it amongst some health and social care professionals.

Being of modest means the Pearsons assumed they had no option but to sell Kath’s home. By the time she died almost every penny of her estate had been spent – leaving nothing to pass on to her grandchildren.

In the final year of Kath’s life the Pearsons heard about NHS continuing healthcare and decided to apply for Kath to be assessed. She qualified, and the care during her last months was paid for in full by the State.

The Pearsons then pulled together an exhaustive report of her past care needs and applied for a retrospective assessment to see if they could reclaim some of the hundreds of thousands of pounds that Kath had paid previously.

After a three year process, their retrospective claim was rejected. On the advice of a solicitor, they feel they still have a case to fight, and are now appealing that decision.

This isn’t something they’ve taken on lightly, as Mrs Pearson says: “there is a huge emotional and psychological toll while we’re waiting for a decision. We have to constantly bring up her death, recall the worst moments of her life, when both of us actually just want to let her rest in peace and remember the lovely person that she was.”

And sadly this may not end soon. The NHS have a huge backlog of retrospective cases, and of course current assessments have historically taken priority.

We wish the Pearsons well in their bid to recover some of Kath’s estate, and hope that their story on Rip Off Britain will raise awareness of the existence of NHS continuing healthcare for others that are looking at the options for care funding.

Wherever you are in this complex process – preparing for your future, seeking an assessment, or appealing a decision – you can talk to our expert team who’ll give you free, independent and honest advice and information about NHS continuing healthcare.

Call 0345 548 0300

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