It’s true that care homes have a rep for being costly – in fact, 91% of UK Care Seekers think that care homes are expensive!
However, with 94% of Care Seekers also adding that care providers are not transparent with their pricing and a whopping 97% believing that their care homes unfairly charge additional fees, it’s clear that there is work to be done when it comes to open conversations about care home costs and what exactly they include.
If you’re just starting out on your care home journey, or you’re just after more information on what you might need to pay in the future, read on for our handy guide to care home fees.
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The cost of a care home depends on what type of care home it is. For example, a residential care home offering basic care and support with daily activities like washing and dressing will cost less than a nursing home that employs specially trained nursing staff to provide medical care for certain health conditions.
You can also expect to see costs increase based on the facilities the home offers. Luxury care homes with a greater variety of facilities and activities for residents can afford to charge higher fees.
Care home costs also depend on whereabouts the home is located. In England for example, you’ll find that care homes are more expensive in London and its surrounding areas than care homes in the North East of England or large parts of Wales.
Research from LaingBuisson showed that average care home fees in the UK range from £27,000 to £39,000 a year for residential care, increasing to £35,000 – £55,000 per year if nursing care is added to the mix.
To give you a ballpark figure, in 2020, average residential care costs in the UK were £34,944 a year, increasing to over £48,720 a year for nursing care homes.
The following table shows the average weekly care home costs for the different countries in the UK:
|Country||Weekly Cost of Residential Care||Weekly Cost of Nursing Care||England||£681||£979|
Meanwhile, here are the average care home costs throughout the UK on a monthly basis:
|Country||Monthly Cost of Residential Care||Monthly Cost of Nursing Care|
Care home fees can be broken down into numerous different categories, including meals, laundry, bills and care costs. Understanding this will give you a better idea of where your fees are going.
In the UK, a normal care home fee breakdown typically looks something like this:
50% goes to staff costs
30% is for EBITDARM (profits before tax and other deductions)
5% is spent on food and beverages
5% covers medical costs
5% is for utilities
5% is for other costs (this includes admin, cleaning and laundry, insurance, repairs and maintenance, marketing and more)
When entering into a contract with your chosen care home, always ask for a clear breakdown of expected costs. Don’t forget to read the small print either – the last thing you want is to be landed with hidden fees or additional charges for services not included in your care package, such as day trips, hairdressing or visits from the GP.
Residential care costs typically cover a basic standard of care, from help with daily tasks like washing and dressing, to administering medication.
The average weekly cost for a UK residential care home is around £704 and the average monthly cost is £2,816. However, you’ll find that costs vary greatly across countries and regions.
For example, you can expect your weekly residential care costs to come in at around £546 in Northern Ireland, all the way up to £850 in Scotland.
The average weekly cost of a UK nursing home can be £800-900, while monthly nursing care costs can total an average of £3,552.
This is because nursing care and its staff are more expensive to provide than standard residential care.
Whereas elderly people in a residential care home may be able to live a mostly independent life with basic support, nursing home residents might struggle with daily life and have certain medical conditions that require regular treatment from experienced registered nurses.
Care homes that provide specialist care, such as dementia care homes, will usually charge higher fees than both residential and nursing care homes.
This is partly due to the specialist staff that are needed to care for residents 24/7. Residents may also need to cover costs for special therapy equipment and more significant medical treatments.
Currently, people with dementia in the UK have to fund the complete cost of their care – and annual dementia care costs can come in anywhere between £30,000 and £80,000.
Other types of medical conditions that tend to have more expensive treatment costs include cancer, mental illness, learning disabilities or physical disabilities.
This is because some medical conditions can be complex and involve symptoms that need tailored support packages, which are often charged at a premium rate.
Respite care homes offer short periods of care for someone whose carer is on holiday or cannot care for them due to an emergency.
There are lots of different respite care options, as each case is unique and the best way to work out exactly what kind of respite care someone needs is through a means assessment. However, the average cost of respite care in the UK is £700-800 a week, although prices can increase to £1,500 in certain cases.
The UK care home system is a bit of a postcode lottery – and some countries and regions are more expensive than others. Carterwood’s UK market reports on the average cost of care provides more of an idea of how much you can expect certain areas of the UK to cost in care home fees:
|Area||Residential care costs per week||Nursing care costs per week|
|East of England||£943||£1,205|
|North East England||£733||£892|
|North West England||£748||£1,055|
|South East England||£1,066||£1,339|
|South West England||£921||£1,196|
|Yorkshire & The Humber||£733||£1,019|
When it comes to paying for care, you have several different options. If you have enough savings then you'll be classed as a self-funder and will be expected to fully fund your own care home costs. Alternatively, your local authority or council may be able to provide financial support towards care home fees, while friends and family can pay a top-up fee towards these costs. There are also two main forms of NHS funding for care homes: NHS continuing healthcare and NHS funded nursing care.
If you have enough savings, you will be classed as a self-funder and will be expected to fully fund your own care home costs.
To arrange care as a self-funder, you can:
Your local authority or council may be able to provide financial support with your care home fees. A friend or family can also offer to pay a top-up fee towards the cost difference between homes, if your chosen care home is outside your budget.
To be eligible for local authority funding, the following assessments will need to be taken by the care seeker:
Care needs assessment – This will work out care needs and the level of support required from a care home. Every care seeker has the right to a free care needs assessment. If you qualify for care funding then it’s the local authority’s legal duty to provide the appropriate care services
Financial assessment – A local authority will also carry out a financial assessment to see whether you can pay for care yourself or if funding is needed
If you're eligible for funding assistance, the local council will calculate the total care home costs and then use a means assessment to work out how much will need to be contributed. This amount must be enough to pay the fees for at least one suitable care home.
The council will also let you know how much they’ll contribute to costs and will arrange a suitable residential or nursing home to meet your or your loved one's care needs.
There are two main types of NHS funding within care homes:
1. NHS Continuing Healthcare
If you've been assessed as having a ‘primary health need’ then NHS Continuing Healthcare provides a care package which is arranged and funded by the NHS. This package covers the full cost of care and residential accommodation.
This funding is available to adults in England who are living with intense, complex and unpredictable needs.
You must undergo an assessment by a team of healthcare professionals to determine if they’re eligible. This process can be complex. An organisation called Beacon gives free, independent advice on NHS Continuing Healthcare.
You can visit Beacon’s website or call their free helpline on 0345 548 0300.
2. NHS Funded Nursing Care
NHS-funded nursing care is provided by the NHS to cover the cost of nursing or medical care for those living in a care home or nursing home. This care is administered by a registered nurse.
You or your loved one may be eligible if:
The amount you or your loved one can get each week depends on whereabouts you live in the UK:
|Region||Rates of NHS-Funded Nursing Care|
|England||£187.60 a week at the standard rate and £258.08 at the higher rate|
|Scotland||£87.10 a week for nursing care and £193.50 a week for personal care - up to a total of £280.60 a week|
|Wales||£179.97 a week|
|Northern Ireland||£100 a week|
You should be assessed for NHS Continuing Healthcare before a decision is made as to whether you’re eligible for NHS Funded Nursing Care.
If you have an income, pension, benefits or savings, you may be able to afford care home costs on your own. As a rough estimate, in the UK if you have savings equal to or in excess of £23,250 you will qualify for self-funding, whereas this figure is closer to £28,750 in Scotland and £50,000 in Wales.
If you have a figure of £14,250 to £23,250, you’ll be able to partly contribute to your care fees, usually through your weekly income. You’ll also be required to pay an assumed extra income of £1 per week for every £250 of capital you have between these two figures.
If you have less than the lower threshold of £14,250, you won’t have to pay for your care home fees, but you will likely have to use most of your weekly income.
If you’re worrying about not having enough in your savings, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to decrease your care home costs, including certain financing options and benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Carer’s Allowance if you have a carer. To find out which benefits you may be eligible for, check out our guide here.
Here are the UK saving thresholds for care home fees in 2022/23:
|Country||Upper Threshold||Lower Threshold|
Because there’s no lower limit in Wales, if your loved one’s savings and assets are worth less than £50,000 then they’ll receive the maximum support from their local authority regardless.
A needs assessment is usually followed by a financial assessment which decides whether your local authority should help with paying for care fees. These assessments need to be arranged before you start looking for care homes, as this will ensure you receive any funding help you may be eligible for.
After the assessments, you or your loved one will be advised whether you need care or not and what funding you’re eligible for (if any).
This will depend on how much is in your savings and how you intend to pay for your care home costs and fees.
When you apply for care, your means test will work out how much of your care you’re able to pay for and whether any financial assistance is needed.
You don’t have to sell your home if you’re receiving care and support at home or if you’re applying for short-term care. If you’re applying for permanent care, you won’t have to sell your house if it’s still occupied by a partner, or in certain circumstances, a child, a relative over the age of 60 or a relative who is classed as being disabled.
If there will be no one living in your home once you go into care, you may need to sell your home to help cover your care home fees. However, there are circumstances where the value of your house is not included in the financial means test, such as the Equity Release scheme.
The Equity Release policy is for people over 55. It gives you a way to access the value tied up in a property and turn it into a cash lump sum, without having to sell your house.
There are plenty of online tools available that can help give you an idea of how much money you could receive from using this scheme.
However, be advised that Equity Release policies can be costly to get wrong, so we recommend you speak to a financial advisor before making any decisions.
If you have been assessed as needing care but you would prefer to stay in your home for now, there may be alternative options for you. Live-in Care and personal care services are often cheaper and can help you or your loved one out with day-to-day tasks.
Live in Care is a preferable options for some people and their families.
We hope you now have a good idea of what different care homes around the UK tend to cost. We understand that finances can be very stressful, which is why Lottie are here to help take the pressure off.
We have your back every step of the way when you’re choosing your care home and working out your potential care home costs.
We’ll make sure that you find a great care home to suit you, all at an affordable price for your budget. Contact one of Lottie’s care experts today to start your care home journey.
Article and Figures Last Updated: September 2022
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