September 2017 – Compensation for Care Assessment Delays
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has ordered Hackney Council to pay nearly £20,000 in backdated care home fees after a delay in assessing the needs of an elderly woman with dementia.
The woman lived with her daughter in Hackney. After struggling with her care commitments and own ill health, the daughter placed her mother in a care home in a different borough and asked Hackney Council to reassess her mothers needs. Hackney Council told her to approach the borough in which her mother was now living but the second borough told the family the woman was still resident in Hackney.
After ten months Hackney Council carried out an assessment and found that the woman needed significant help and agreed to fund her placement from October 2015, but this left several months of unpaid care home fees. The family complained to the council and then to the Ombudsman.
Following an investigation, the Ombudsman found the council took too long to assess the mothers care needs, and should have paid the care home fees from November 2014 (when the assessment should have been carried out) rather than October 2015 when they actually began to fund the placement. As a result, Hackney Council agreed to pay the backdated care home fees of £19,898, and pay the legal fees.
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Michael King said:
It should not have taken both a letter from a solicitor and my investigation for the council to recognise its duties towards her.
It is imperative that people in need are assessed in a timely fashion. And if there are any doubts about that person’s residency, it should be referred to the Secretary of State to decide.
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