The Competition and Markets Authority has finalised advice to UK care home providers on charging fees after death. Care homes have been told to review policies as soon as possible and, where necessary, change their contract terms and practices or risk enforcement action.
In the advice, care homes should review the following:
- Length of usual payment period of residential fees after the death of a self-funded resident
- Extending the usual payment periods by agreement
- Treatment of possessions
- Residential fees payable by a third party after the death of a part-funded resident
- Fees payable to cover ‘shortfalls’ in any contributions which are no longer paid by the State upon (or shortly after) the death of the resident
- Clear and transparent contract terms.
The CMA has made clear that acceptable policies will allow fees to be charged:
- for no more than a reasonable short and fixed period of up to three days, from the day following the resident’s death, provided that provision is made for fees to stop being charged if a new resident occupies the room within this period
- until possessions are cleared from the resident’s room by their representatives, provided that a reasonable backstop period of no more than ten days is included in the contract term for fees to cease from that point
- refunds should be received within 28 days from becoming due.
The advice follows a consultation launched in January which examined areas such as the charging of fees after the death of the resident and treatment of the resident’s possessions