End of life care is vital. It ensures you live a full and comfortable life despite your illness. However, while this sounds like an easy decision, it happens to be one of the most challenging decisions anyone can make for themselves or a loved one.
One of the reasons why these choices are so hard is because of how expensive they can be depending on the state of those receiving care. Most times, patients and their loved ones are left wondering who pays for end-of-life care.
Through the continuing healthcare program (NHS CHC), the NHS can help you pay for end-of-life care. The NHS CHC is not means-tested, so it doesn’t depend on how much money you have. If you’re eligible, the program pays for all your social care include care home fees and carers if you’re still living in your own home.
Not all terminally ill patients qualify for NHS CHC. According to the NHS, you need to have a complex medical condition with ongoing medical needs and verify it. You need to be assessed.
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The NHS CHC is the most comprehensive cover because it also pays for the specialist equipment you might need and personal care costs. However, the NHS will only pay for a home that charges as much as they are willing to pay.
If you’re in a more expensive home, you might be requested to move. But if the move could affect your health, the NHS might have to take this into account.
There is also the NHS-funded nursing care, which contributes to nursing costs if you need care in a nursing home. Under this program, the NHS pays a flat rate directly to the care home towards the cost of your nursing care. This is also not means-tested, meaning it’s not limited by how much money you have.
The Local Authority
Your local authority can also pay for your end of life care. A general practitioner or a hospital social worker can refer you to the local authority, or you can get in touch with them yourself. Before taking over the cost of care needs, the local authority will assess your care needs. The assessment conducted helps the authority to understand:
- The kind of help you need.
- Types of care available.
- How much you will need to pay for the care services.
During the assessment, the local authorities will offer you vital information on the agencies that provide care in your area as well as local charities that might help.
Unlike NHS funding that doesn’t require a means test, the local authority will conduct a means test to determine your capacity to pay. Based on the finding, the authority could pay the entire amount of your end of life care or pay part of the cost. How much they pay depends on what you’re worth.
National and local charities can also help with paying for end of life care and offer practical help that could prove crucial like:
- Offering free support, counselling, home visits, transport to medical appoints and advice.
- Information on the help you’re entitled to and also they can assist you in filling out applications and talk to the local authorities on your behalf.
- Offer one-off grants from charities that specialise in your health condition.
- Free hospice care for patients nearing the end of life, including counselling, advice and medical care.
Charities are not obligated to pay for end of life care. While they might not always pay, they can also provide you with vital information and other forms of assistance that could make your end of life more comfortable and fulfilling.
While the NHS and local authorities pay for most of the patients in end of life care, there are those that have to pay for themselves.
If one isn’t eligible for end of life care from the NHS and the local authorities determine that you have enough finances to cater for the fees yourself, you’re left with little choice but to pay for yourself.
Those who have to self-fund have various avenues they can use to raise funds for their care needs:
- Rent income – Instead of selling the house, some homeowners decide to rent out the house and use the income to cover the care fees. In most cases, you will need to supplement the income, which is often using pension money or other sources of income.
- Insurance – Insurance is increasingly becoming a preferred method to pay for end of life care. However, for this to work, you have to ensure you make arrangements well in advance for comprehensive cover. If you have a trust, the trust can also help offset the cost of end of life care.
- Friends and family – It’s not unusual for friends and family to come together and help to pay for end of life care. It’s not common, but it’s also not impossible.
- Your home – Most people who don’t qualify for NHS or Local authorities funding, can opt to sell their home to pay for end of life care.