How will my palliative care be funded?

There are multiple ways to have your care needs funded depending on your level of need and assets. Your care needs will fall into one of two categories, either health or social. If you need support due to a primary care need such as pancreatic cancer you may be eligible for your care to be funded by the NHS under continuing healthcare.

Social care is means tested and you may have to pay towards your care or for all of it. Social services and/or hospital discharge teams can assess your care needs and what support you may be entitled too. There are two assessments that will take place to guide this.

Needs assessment

If you are needing help to cope day-to-day, a needs assessment can be carried out by social workers from your local council. This aims to assess the level of support that you need and any equipment you may need to allow that to happen. This can be face to face or over the phone and involve questions or functional assessments such as
washing and dressing, cooking, walking, getting in and out of bed or a chair.

You may want to spend some time before the assessment thinking about the things that you find harder to do and creating a list. It may also help to have someone with you who knows you well.

Which? Has created a checklist you can look at to help you prepare.

The assessment is free, and you can ask for one at any time, though it is unlikely to take place immediately after you ask. Sometimes assessments take place in hospital if you have been admitted and diagnosed there.

The findings of a need’s assessment are transferred into a care and support plan detailing the type of care you need, how this will be given and what level of financial support you will receive. This is designed to help you be independent and have control rather than to restrict you, so it is important that you agree with and understand your plan.

Financial assessment

Once you have had an assessment of your needs, you can have a free financial assessment from social workers in your local authority (or hospital if that is where you are).

This looks at the amount of money you have to determine how much you would have to pay towards the cost of your care. The amount of financial support you will receive for your care depends upon your assets and savings. However, if you are assessed as needing nursing or personal care in Scotland this is free. The cost you pay is towards any residential living costs.

You may be asked about earnings, pensions, benefits, savings and UK property. The assessment may ask about things you used to own and therefore giving money or property in the form of gifts in the months and years prior to your assessment will still be taken into account. If you have a paid carer coming into your home, the value of your house will not be taken into the financial assessment. If you are moving into a care home, the value of your house will be taken into account unless you have a spouse or partner still living in it.

Financial assistance/local authority funded package of care
Private care / self-funding
Continuing healthcare (CHC)