Deputy & Attorney Services

When it comes to making arrangements for long-term care you may feel as though you need additional help and advice navigating the services available. OpenDoor can help point you in the right direction and ensure you get all the help you’re entitled to.

What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?

NHS Continuing Healthcare is a package of care which is funded by the NHS and which can include funding for Care Home fees.

The assessment of eligibility for Continuing Healthcare is complex and frequently assessments can be procedurally or clinically incorrect, meaning that people are often paying for health care that should be funded by the NHS.

Your duties as a deputy or attorney

If you are a deputy or attorney for someone in need of long-term care it is your responsibility to ensure that person receives all the benefits they are entitled to, and that their finances are managed in a way that is in their best interests

As part of that duty of care you should ensure that the person you are responsible for is not privately paying for care that should be funded by the NHS.

If you are allowing the persons finances to be used to fund care unnecessarily you could face sanction by the Court of Protection or even a civil action for damages.

How can OpenDoor help?

At OpenDoor we have specialised teams for managing the NHS assessment procedures to ensure that the person you are responsible for is properly and accurately assessed. Instructing OpenDoor can be used as a means to show you’re effectively discharging your duties in your role as deputy or attorney. The Office of the Public Guardian (the body which supervises deputies and attorneys) allows you to employ professionals, such as solicitors, as long as this is reasonable, proportionate and in the relevant person’s best interests.

Deputy & Attorney

In the first instance, please contact the person who is handling your matter, or their claims manager whose details will be provided to you upon request.  The complaint will then be investigated and reported back to you as soon as possible.

For more information on our complaint procedure please visit our How to complain section.

The National Framework for Continuing Healthcare sets out the full process for deciding whether someone is eligible for funding, however a simplistic explanation is that Continuing Healthcare should be awarded to someone who requires care because their level of health needs are greater than their level of social needs.

Unfortunately there are no clear cut definitions of what constitutes a ‘health’ need as opposed to a ‘social’ need and it very much depends upon the professional judgment of the people who are undertaking the Continuing Healthcare assessment. This means it is crucial to ensure that all relevant information is available and all relevant health needs are not minimised or overlooked.

Unfortunately assessments for Continuing Healthcare can often be procedurally and/or clinically inaccurate, resulting in flawed eligibility decisions. This could have a huge financial impact upon the person affected.

As the service is for the benefit of the person you are responsible for our fees should be paid from the relevant persons assets. We therefore fully understand that this is a decision you will have to take very seriously.

To assist you in making this decision we have developed a <clear and transparent fixed fee pricing structure>. We have set our fees at a low and proportionate level, as they are generally lower than the average weekly cost of a self-funded nursing home.

 

We would also refer you to the Office of the Public Guardian publication ‘Information for property and affairs deputies’:

“As Deputy you can employ professionals such as solicitors, accountants and regulated financial advisors, to help manage the client’s affairs.

You will need to show that seeking professional help is reasonable, proportionate to the size or complexity of assets held, and in the client’s best interests when you report to the OPG.”

We are confident that our fees are entirely reasonable and the instruction of OpenDoor is an entirely reasonable decision on the part of a deputy or attorney.

This service is offered on a staged fixed fee basis:

  • Stage 1- Initial Screening
    £550 plus vat, and disbursements (to be agreed in advance)
  • Stage 2 – Full Assessment
    £600 plus vat, and disbursements (to be agreed in advance)
  • Stage 3 – Dispute Resolution
    *£250 plus vat, and disbursements (to be agreed in advance)

Full terms and conditions can be found here

To find out more please visit our How we charge page.

If it transpires that the person you are responsible for should have been receiving Continuing Healthcare in the past, then it may be possible to make a claim to recover any care home fees which were privately paid during this time.

If this is the case we will provide you with full advice and are happy to act on your behalf to recover any refund which is due.

Continuing Healthcare is a package of care which is funded by the NHS and which can include funding for Care Home fees.

As a deputy or an attorney you have a responsibility to act in the relevant person’s best interests and to manage their finances, including a duty to make sure that they receive all benefits which they are entitled to.

If you are using the funds of the relevant person to pay care home fees that should be funded by the NHS, you are potentially acting in breach of your duties, which could result in action being taken against you by the Office of the Public Guardian and Court of Protection.

It is also possible you could face a future civil claim for damages on the basis of your breach of duty.

The Continuing Healthcare system, and indeed the NHS itself, can be extremely difficult to navigate, as it may involve a number of different professionals from the Health and Social Care systems.

OpenDoor has a dedicated team of staff, who are experts in the legal framework underpinning Continuing Healthcare. We can ensure that a fair and accurate assessment takes place, which can be relied upon as a true reflection of the needs of the person you are responsible for and is also evidence that you are fully discharging your responsibilities as a Deputy or Attorney.

In partnership with our network of independent nurse assessors and social workers we will ensure that the correct assessment process is followed, that all relevant medical evidence is available and that professional advocacy support is provided during assessments, to give you peace of mind.