Alzheimer’s Society: Care Guidance A Smoke Screen

The Department of Health’s new guidance ‘The National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care’ has been heavily criticised by charities including the Alzheimer’s Society who believe the guidance doesn’t go far enough to give vulnerable people with dementia access to long term care funding.

Responding to the framework’s shortcomings, the Alzheimer’s Society stepped in to launch a network of volunteers who will use their experiences to help others navigate through the tricky care system. Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said,

“The current system of care funding is a public scandal that discriminates against thousands of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This has to stop. Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction and may mean that some additional people with dementia will get access to funding for long term care.”

“Despite this, there is no escaping that the current care system is broken and needs a complete overhaul. Thousands of families will still be left struggling with astronomical care bills. We need a national debate on who pays for care. We are launching the ‘NHS continuing care volunteer network’ which will be championed by volunteers who have won continuing care cases after lengthy battles. Using the new guidance and the network’s expertise, we hope thousands more people will get access to the care funding they deserve.”

Mike Pearce, a volunteer who will help others as part of the Alzheimer’s Society’s new network says: “Many people are wrongly denied help paying for care because the system is deliberately confusing. My own battle took many years to get back the £50, 000 I paid for my mother’s care. It wasn’t about the money, it was about getting the support my mother deserved. I hope I can show other people who are struggling at such a difficult time to how do the same.

“The Alzheimer’s Society is urging people who think they have been wrongly charged for care to seek a review of their care case by asking their PCT or equivalent organisation for a continuing care assessment. If people have already been turned down for fully funded care and are not satisfied, they should request a review using the new guidance.”

The framework will be considered a best practice guide until 1 October 2007 when it will become directions. Registered Nursing Care Contributions (RNCC) will also change. Currently people can received three different levels of contributions towards their care depending on the complexity of a person’s health needs.

From 1 October 2007, the three different levels (bands) will be replaced by a single band.