Duty of care to residents, their families and to employees is the cornerstone of our sector; and ensuring the health of the care business itself is essential for enabling operators to meet this duty of care.
In this guest article by law firm Irwin Michell‘s senior associate Amy Comins and associate Nicola Turner (members of Irwin Mitchell’s Later Life Planning team), explore how risk management and cash flow can derail the health of a care business. On-boarding of new residents is a particular crunch point that can store up problems for the future.
This topic is covered in detail in Care Home Management’s latest podcast, produced in partnership with Irwin Mitchell.
It features as special guests, social care consultant and chair of the Independent Care Group Mike Padgham (also owner of the Saint Cecilia’s Care Services), and Shaleeza Hasham, head of communications and commissioning at CHD Living.
Entering care for the first time can be distressing and is often necessary as a matter of urgency. New residents are not always fully prepared in terms of the financial and legal measures they will need in place for their future care.
For the care operators, this can lead to challenges when it comes to future funding and decision making. However, by encouraging new residents and their families to seek advice and plan for the future, care operators can reduce the risk and cash flow issues that can occur when a resident loses capacity or passes away.
Irwin Mitchell advises that new residents have the following in place:
- A Will: If the resident passes away, the estate can be administered efficiently, meaning that you’ll be remunerated for any outstanding fees in a timely manner
- Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) for both financial decisions and health and care decisions, which are two very distinct documents. This will ensure there will be an appointed attorney who can assist in the case of diminished capacity of a resident. This ensures a resident’s estate remains under effective management and you have a clear point of contact to work with on their behalf. We can help families with the appointment of a deputy in circumstances where an LPA hasn’t been put in place
- Provision to pay for self-funded care: This includes taking independent financial advice in order to forecast how long funds will last and any entitlement for Local Authority, NHS and State Benefit funding. This provides certainty for the resident and the care operator
- Awareness of how to appoint an advocate, should the need arise
- The opportunity of legal advice before signing the care home contract; this ensures that the client is aware of its terms and protects both the care home and the resident from retrospective challenges
Residents getting the right advice at the right time, and a partnership approach between the care operator, the resident and their family from the outset, will reduce future risk and cash flow issues that can distract the operators from doing what they do best. That is, focusing on the care, safety and happiness of their residents.
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