If you're a local authority-funded care home resident, we can help explain what rights you have when choosing which home you live in.
Our information and advice is also relevant to people who will fund their own residential care to start with, but may need local authority assistance with the fees later.
Government guidance on choice of care home accommodation allows you to choose which home you would like to live in. If you prefer a particular care home, the local authority must try to arrange accommodation in that home, subject to the following conditions:
- the home chosen is suitable to meet the your assessed needs.
- it doesn't cost more than the local authority would expect for this type of accommodation.
- the provider is willing to enter into a contract on the local authority's usual terms.
This can be locally or anywhere within the UK.
Following your local authority needs assessment, you will also be means-tested to see if you have to make a financial contribution and also to confirm what contribution the local authority must make to ensure that your eligible needs are met. The local authority’s financial contribution is called a personal budget. This must be a realistic figure that genuinely reflects local care home costs, which it should be aware of, because it has a duty to meet eligible needs.
If you'd prefer to live in a care home that costs more than the local authority would usually expect to pay, it can arrange this, provided that someone else is willing to meet the difference in cost. This is usually known as a top-up or third-party payment.
Top ups should only be paid voluntarily and with the consent of families, and older people have the right to be offered at least one residential care placement which is available and affordable within the funding the council has allotted to them.
Top ups are an arrangement between the council and the older person and their family. If an older person and their family choose a care home that requires a top up payment the idea is that this is agreed with and paid to the council, which then passes the extra amount to the care home.