Care Funding and Advice


Carewise Care Funding Scheme

People are living longer and for some this may mean moving into a care home. This decision is likely to be one of the most expensive decisions people make in their lives and the prospect of paying for long-term care can feel daunting. Yet many do not seek information and advice to help them consider all the options available and make informed decisions. This sort of planning is vital because based on current estimates, West Sussex residents can expect to pay an average of £50,000 or more per year for a residential care home.

To ensure that the residents of West Sussex have access to high quality information and advice about care and support options and the most cost effective ways of paying for this, our Carewise Care Funding scheme was established by Age UK West Sussex, the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA), the County Council’s Adults’ Services and Trading Standards departments and West Sussex Partners in Care.

Carewise has a panel of approved independent specialist financial advisers to help people afford the best quality care at home or in their preferred care home for as long as they need it and so prevent people running out of money and becoming the financial responsibility of the County Council.
Carewise has been operational since 2011 and the County Council has, therefore, been in a good position to evaluate performance over a fairly long period and take action as necessary to refine the model. Consequently, we were well-positioned to meet our duty under the Care Act to ensure that residents have access to impartial financial advice about paying for care and support. This also means that Carewise has evolved into a model that is being used as an exemplar of good practice at a national level, not least because of the high level of customer choice that is built into the model. The successful partnership style and the risk management approach adopted by the County Council have also been highlighted to other local authorities as positive elements of our approach.
Presentations on the Carewise model have been included in TLAP (Think Local, Act Personal)/Department of Health national workshops held to support local authorities in planning to discharge their duty under the Care Act 2014. Carewise has informed the Department of Health final guidance for local authorities on the provision of financial information and advice.

Here’s how financial advice from a Carewise care fees specialist helped one West Sussex family.
Grace* was 84 when her daughter and lawyer asked for advice on covering her care costs. Grace suffered some physical problems and mild dementia which meant that she needed full-time residential care. Grace owned a house and after it was sold that gave her assets of £210,000. We estimated that if Grace did nothing her money would run down and she would need her care to be paid for by the local authority after seven years.
After looking at Grace’s situation we considered a number of options. One option was to arrange an immediate care plan for a premium of £138,000. It would pay her care provider £2,100 a month, which would increase each April by 5% and be payable for her lifetime. However, this option would only leave £72,000 of her estate and Grace and her family were uncomfortable with the idea that such a large sum could be lost if Grace died soon after buying the plan. Instead we agreed that Grace should buy a five-year deferred care plan at a cost of £26,100. This plan has the same long-term benefit as the immediate plan, but will only pay out if Grace still needs care in five years’ time. In the meantime she funds the care from her assets. Overall the long-term cost of this option is greater but Grace and the family were happier with this solution as they would feel that the extra money had been spent on Grace’s care. Once paid, the premium can never be returned, but Grace and her family found the plan gave them great peace of mind. Grace knew that the income from the plan would be there no matter how long she lived. She didn’t have to worry about her money running out and she would still have money to leave an inheritance for her family. On Graces death she will leave an estate between £184,000 and £67,000, depending upon how long she lives.
This is just one example of how Carewise can help people make more informed choices at this sometimes very stressful stage in their lives.
* Name changed

Performance

The potential financial benefits to both individuals and the County Council, and the predicted demographic increase in numbers of older people, particularly those with dementia, over the coming years, means that promotion of the Carewise  scheme is imperative. Carefully targeted marketing and promotions campaigns have run from 2014-2019. A marketing campaign for 2019-20 is underway  and  evaluation data from previous years has been used to identify successful activities. The marketing aims to ensure that the momentum of past campaigns is maintained and public awareness increased. The 2019-20 campaign reflects the Adults' Services vision for the future which focuses on increasing people’s independence and wellbeing and encouraging more people to plan early for their long-term care needs in  later life.

We know that many people do not immediately want a referral to a care fees specialist but would rather have information in the first instance and then make a measured decision later about whether to proceed. It is, therefore, recognised that the number of referrals is never likely to increase dramatically in a short period of time and that any campaign will take time to yield results. Partners, including the care fees specialists, have advised that the quality of referrals should be a key focus rather than simply aiming to increase the numbers.

Age UK West Sussex provides a free Money Advice service which is part of the Carewise scheme; this service includes benefits advice. Maximising benefit entitlement enables people to purchase care and remain living independently in their own homes for as long as possible and can reduce the need for reliance on County Council funding. Increased financial security can also enhance people’s wellbeing, a key principle of the Care Act. In addition, the local economy can benefit from people using their benefits to employ people to provide domiciliary care, personal assistants, gardening etc.

As the 2018-19 targets for referrals to the Carewise care fees specialists were not met, we are maintaining the same targets for this measure for 2019-20 ie 55 people referred to the Carewise care fees specialists per month by the end of March 2020 with an incremental increase throughout the year.

The target for Age UK West Sussex Money Advice Service for 2019-20 is to maintain 550 individual sessions per month throughout the year.  

JULY 2019 FIGURES
REFERRALS TO CAREWISE CARE FEES SPECIALISTS =  22. The target for the number of referrals to the care fees specialists for July 2019 is 38.  This is  below the target. 
22   people have received some level of financial advice from the care fees specialists ranging from basic to specialist advice during July  2019. A significant amount of return calls made by the care fees specialists to those who have contacted us culminate with only basic advice being given ( these calls can last for up to 30-45 minutes). This might be because the person has inadequate income or assets, meaning that the care fees specialist is unable to suggest any action that would enable the person to remain a self-funder and preserve assets. Sometimes the care fees specialist is contacted at the very early stages where the person's situation is still uncertain. Whatever the reason might be, usually the care fees specialist can provide useful, timely guidance and information to the caller. This might involve explaining the complex care and benefit system in simple, easy to understand terms. On numerous occasions during the conversation the care fees specialist has identified that the person has not claimed Attendance Allowance, or is still receiving the lower amount when they should have applied for the higher amount. Sometimes it is appropriate to direct the caller to colleagues at Age UK West Sussex. If the person has had a positive experience of using Carewise and they choose to spread that message to others that can lead to a good outcome for the scheme.
A route which enables people to refer themselves  online is now operational and is expected to increase numbers over time.
AGE UK WEST SUSSEX MONEY ADVICE SERVICE- The number of individual sessions held by the Money Advice Service (people receiving advice on a specific benefit) for July 2019 = 651. The target for March 2019 is 550. The target has been exceeded.
The value of additional benefits accessed for people from in July 2019 to = £  £1,080,122.35
Marketing  and Promotions

The marketing campaign comprises a wide range of promotional channels including radio advertising, direct mail, social media and digital methods, all of which are subject to robust monitoring and evaluation.

There is a focus on promoting Carewise at the ‘point of need’; for example, in residential care homes and to domiciliary care providers

We continue to issue invites to care home providers to hold Carewise 'surgeries' for their staff, residents and their families . The template recommending that new care home residents access good financial advice which was developed for inclusion in admission packs, has been updated to resemble more of an information flyer. The flyer was circulated to providers and it is being suggested that existing residents are also included. Carewise is referenced and promoted to care providers via the Contracts regular provider newsletter. West Sussex Partners in Care (representative body for care providers in West Sussex and a Carewise partner) is playing an increased role in promoting Carewise.

The care fees specialists will continue to visit firms of solicitors on request to explain the benefits of Carewise and build professional relationships.
We also visit local organisations and groups to give presentations on request and we seek out promotional activities, including cost-free channels, as part of the ongoing marketing campaign.
An online option  to 'request a call-back' from the care fees specialists went 'live' in October 2018 and referrals have started to be received from  residents. In addition,  a new microsite for Carewise has been developed and is now 'live'.  This is hosted by our Connect to Support website but enables a separate and more succinct url and freedom to design the site to provide the information in a way that best reflects the Carewise process. 
Actions being taken:
  • Marketing and promotional  campaign for 2019-20 underway
  • Promotional letters sent to care home owners - includes offer to hold Carewise surgeries with the care fees specialists.  
  • Facebook five week promotional campaign commenced 14.6.19
  • Regular promotion of the benefits of Carewise to residential and domiciliary care providers and their customers/residents and families via the Contracts newsletter. 
  • Including Carewise information with Blue Badge and bus passes letters to residents
  • Direct mail campaign to targeted residents to commence early September 2019
  • Exploring advertising on County Council pool cars
  • Funding advice session to be held in a local dementia hub in September 
For more information about Carewise visit: www.carewiseadvice.com, call 01243 642121 or email: socialcare@westsusex.gov.uk