800% increase in the cost of respite care

I've booked Mum and Auntie into a nice Council-run care home up the road for two weeks in August so that my husband, Mother in law, son and I can go to Yorkshire for a couple of weeks.  We used the same care home last year and it was great.  In fact when she came home Mum was so enthusiastic about their "holiday" that I asked her if she'd rather be there than with us!

Last year it cost us £75.35 per person per week, so just over £300 for the two of them for the two weeks.  It was a flat rate, about the same as the higher rate of Attendance Allowance.  This year, after we booked, Social Services told us that it might cost more this year.  How much?  I asked.  I don't know said the Social Worker.

I spent quite a lot of time finding out what that could mean and eventually discovered the Council are proposing to means test it.  They'll work out what you can afford for care per week and that's what they'll charge you.  Sounds reasonable?   Well, no.  First of all, the maximum charge isn't their contract rate of £375, it's a theoretical figure of £700.  Secondly, they intend to charge us what we can afford 52 weeks of the year and we're only accessing services for two weeks.  If it goes through it will cost us £2,800.  That's more than three times as much as our holiday cottage.

That's assuming of course that we'll still be entitled to use the Council's care home at all.  Mum is self-funding and Auntie is borderline.  Our Council doesn't normally assist people who are self funding at all:  when Auntie moved here I had to make a fuss even to get a care-needs assessment for her.  If we don't qualify for a Council sponsored place we won't be able to go there since the Council take all the non-nursing beds and the home doesn't use its nursing beds for respite. 

At the moment the Council are consulting over their new proposals.  Mum and Auntie were sent the Consultation and have done a response and I sent one too.  I've told the carers I know about it, encouraged them to call the Council but they just say if it costs more they won't bother with respite care.

What annoys me is that the Council say it isn't right for us to sponge on the Council Tax payer.  It sounds fair at first but then I start thinking about some of my friends who've sent their children to the local comprehensive.  There's the barrister (four kids) who earns over £80,000 a year, the HR Director of a business employing 20,000 (three kids) and the Managing Director whose wife also works full time as a Chartered Accountant (just the two kids).  We don't ask them to pay for their children's education.  There'd be an outcry if we did.     

I believe in the Big Society.  That's why I gave up my job to look after Mum.  That's why I took Auntie in when she was told she'd got to give up her flat and go into a home.  But give me a break!  Looking after two ladies in their 90s who aren't all that "with it" 24/7 is a bit challenging.  Anyway every working person is entitled to four weeks paid holiday a year.  I just want two.

The consultation finishes soon and the vote takes place in April.  We'll be told the outcome in July.  It's a bit late to make alternative arrangements! 


Re: Cost of respite care. I

Re: Cost of respite care.

I was just wondering if you could help me, I'm currently living in West Sussex. I am a registered adult nurse. A friend and I are currently looking at setting up a respite care home as I have been appalled at the care homes out there that I have worked in. The care is terrible, residents are unkempt and unhappy. I would hate to have to put a relative or friend at the mercy of some of these places. So I thought why not do it myself and do it better... I have no problem with providing entertainment for people, I do however, have a problem with putting a war time CD on every day and classing that as 'entertainment'. The ideas we have so far would include on site physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, library access including large print text and audio books, computer/internet access and help with this, carers that will be able to read to residents if they so wish, music of personal preference to clients receiving respite at the time. It would ideally start out as a small venture with 8 beds for overnight respite and facilities for day respite with space saved for emergency day respite e.g. unforeseen appointments.

If you could give me your thoughts that would be greatly appreciated. Also an indication of how much you would be prepared to pay for this service so that we can ensure that our charges would be reasonable and fair.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.


My Husband and I have cared

My Husband and I have cared for his Mother for seven years, who unfortunately has passed away, his Father who is totally immobile and my Mother who is partially mobile with lots of illness's.

So over the last eleven years we have had one holiday, i am unable to go to work. I get carer's allowance for one of them because you cannot claim for 2 under the same roof apparently you don't do anything extra!

When i slipped a disc and my Husband lost his job and had a heart attack, and we had nine people living the house (very stressful, our youngest son and his family)it took three weeks for social services to find placements for EMERGENCY RESPITE!!!!!

Sometimes it feels that has well as caring 24/7 you also have to fight the 'system' for everything and it leaves you so drained and knackered it doesn't seem worth it!!!

I think what swung it with

I think what swung it with our Council was that 18 of the 20 responses said that if they couldn't get cheap respite care they'd put their relative in a home sooner rather than later. Nobody can make you care for your relatives at home.

Last week we got a letter

Last week we got a letter from the Council with the result of the consultation. I was shocked to see that only about 20 people responded.
From April next year the cost of a week's respite care will be £470 a week. The Council hope that the price will deter people from asking for unnecessary residential places and choose other (i.e. cheaper) alternatives like care at home that will be better for the patient and the carer. I find this a remarkably stupid remark. Isn't the Social Worker supposed to assess needs?
By the way, my step daughter gets married in May!

SUCCESS! Crack open the

SUCCESS! Crack open the champagne!
I sent an email to one of the Councillors I lobbied on Saturday, saying that I had not heard anything from the head of adult services or my Councillors so I would be going to the next Cabinet meeting and, if allowed, asking questions (politely!) from the floor.
Guess what? He chased it up for me ON SATURDAY and I got an email in the afternoon from the Council to say that they weren't going ahead with the idea of increasing the charges in July because it would be unfair when people had already booked respite care and their holidays. So there won't be any increase this year! He went on to say that the matter would be reviewed later in the year but that the revised charges wouldn't be anything like the figures quoted in the consultation.
I'm over the moon. It just shows what can be achieved if people stand up to be counted.

Hi "one true Pearl" i would

Hi "one true Pearl"
i would be very interested in the charges
you eventually sourced?
Its a minefield out there trying to source
fair and reasonable rates for loved ones for
a couple of weeks of respite care?
Many Thanks

I think out rages my mum has

I think out rages my mum has respite before I wasn't that bothered about her going now she been there three times and I like the break though it still feels odd then we get told the government are considering stopping people from going it's just not fair anymore they mess up we suffer I hope u get it sorted love

Very recently I rang Adult

Very recently I rang Adult Social Care re subsidised respite care for my Mum, which she had last year, and there was no problem with her getting it. Being under the savings threshold, we WERE entitled to two weeks respite in a nice local care home at the rate of Mum's attendance allowance for two weeks.

I spoke with a Liason Officer and as the conversation went on it became clear to me, by the questions she was asking, that it looks very unlikely Mum is going to get this subsidised respite, due to the cutbacks. Mum is frailer and more forgetful than last year (she's 90 in November)I suffer from chronic back pain which is worsening with caring and we do not use any help from Social Services as regards Mum's care - I do it all.

We will have a visit for an assessment, but I was told that the Assessor was very busy so it could take a while. I will fight hard for this respite because I need the break and Mum is happy to go, but I think it will be a bit of a battle!!!

I think the cutbacks in our council which is West Sussex have been very severe, so much for Cameron's 'Big Society' and pre- election promises for Carers; they are out of the window. I'd call it Cameron's 'Unfair Society' myself!!

You make a very good point

You make a very good point there. As you say, it isn't always about what things cost, it's knowing what's available and if the Council ignore you because you're self funding then where do you go?
My father suffered a stroke in 1995 and while he was in hospital became incontinent. Every day Mum was coming home with 5 or 6 pairs of trousers soaked in urine to wash and I rang the hospital to complain and they mentioned Attendance Allowance. Otherwise I wouldn't have known anything about it.

My wife and I live in the

My wife and I live in the Isle of Man. Following the death of my father we now have my 86 year old mother staying with us. I am her full time carer whilst my wife earns our only income. Mother is infirm and registered partialy sighted as well as being somewhat deaf but the catch is she still owns her old delapidated bungalow. The council wants mother to be a full time resident but will take the bungalow. Now that IS inheritance tax!

We desperately needed respite to visit my Danish wifes mother (92) who is in a care home in Denmark (at much less cost than the UK!). The cost for my mothers stay in the Isle of Man for two weeks and four days in the local Council run home cost £1,128.75 between 17/12/2010 to 04/01/2011. or:
2 weeks at £438.96 (£877.92
plus 4 days at £62.71 (£250.88

Compared to the modern clean and well run care home in Denmark the one in the Isle of Man is a miserable affair.

I know of one local who is paying £4500 plus a month for nursing care for his father!

The Council's attitude sounds

The Council's attitude sounds a bit daft - we all pay for things we don't use! I have no children, but don't get a schools rebate! We've never called out the fire brigade, but weren't expecting a no claims bonus.... I also don't understand how you can be charged for something you're not accessing?? Sounds mad.
What really worries me here is that the increases in cost for the respite care means that people then won't be able to go on holiday. Then there'll be some sort of assumption that respite isn't needed and then where will we all be!
We struggle with the means test thing too, mostly because if you're assumed to be able to afford whatever it is, you are then cut completely out of the loop and never find out what is out there in terms of help so you don't know what you could be spending your money on. Don't know if that makes sense!
And congratulations on finding a nice Council run care home that you're actually prepared to send your Mum and auntie to! My Mum is in a lovely one, full time now, and they are few and far between, believe you me.

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