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Care Home Fees

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:17 pm
by Jane_1611
Hi All

I'm hoping someone might be able to offer me some advice with this question concerning a very large and unexpected final invoice from the care home where my mum lived.

Sadly my lovely mum passed away on 3 October having had many years of ill health & the last 2 years in a nursing home. She was 'self funding' and paying £850 per week for her care. I had expected to receive a final invoice from the care home for about £365 plus any small outstanding amounts for hairdresser, manicures, etc. Instead I have just received a final invoice for over £2,000..!

I queried this with the care home and they have advised me that it includes 2 weeks 'post death' fee up to 17 October even though my mum died on 3 October. I asked for more information about what they are charging for and they have said it is for cleaning and preparation before the next resident. Presumably they mean for the room that was my mum's room, although it is not clear exactly what they do mean.

Is it legal for the care home to charge for their own overheads in getting a previous resident's room ready for the next resident? I have not been given any evidence that cleaning and preparation work I am being asked to pay for has actually been done.

Even if I do have to pay for this I would have thought that 1 day (say 7 hours) would be more than enough time to get my mum's old room cleaned and ready for the next resident. The care home want to charge nearly £1,700 for this work.

Help..! Has anyone got an experience of these 'post death' fees being charged by care homes & what has been the outcome?

Thank you for any help & support you may be able to give.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:26 pm
by susieq
Hello Jane,

I'm sorry to hear about your Mum; it's hard enough coping with a sudden death without additional hassles !

There was a fee payable after my Mum died too but as her fees were paid in advance and we hadn't long paid the next month's fee when she died we didn't have to pay any extra (we didn't get any refund either !).

I suspect the home are also including the loss of fees from the 'next' resident whilst they clean/re-decorate Mum's room etc. Empty rooms don't generate income. Do you have a copy of the contract that would have been signed at the time she took up residence ? Certainly anything like this should be in the contract - if not it might be worthwhile contacting a solicitor for advice.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:56 pm
by bowlingbun
Definitely find your copy of the contract, or if you don't have it, ask them for a copy of the one you or mum signed. If it is not a signed contract, you don't have to pay. If it is signed, you do. Very clear cut. If they don't accept this, talk to a solicitor and also raise it with CQC.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:58 am
by Dancedintherain
I am sorry for your loss.
Yes, it is is quite "normal" for such a charge to be in the contract.
I strongly suspect the home will not harass you for an immediate payment. Also, If you are using a solicitor for probate this bill can be taken care of in due course.
No doubt you have lots of things to deal with now. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:26 pm
by Anne001
Hi Jane,

Very sorry for your loss, and the extra upset caused by the bill.

I had similar and when I looked at the contract, fees were paid on a monthly basis and mum had died at an "inconvenient time" in the month, so the next month was due too. Again, only the contract will tell you this.

Thinking of you at this very difficult time,
Anne

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:19 pm
by Elaine
Hi Jane, Sorry to hear of your Mum passing. I'm amazed at the bill and feel quite lucky. My Mum died on a Wednesday, we cleared all her belongings out of her room on Thursday and her bill had been paid for the next full week. I received a refund for that next week. I imagine they had a new resident by Friday afternoon. They operated a 'short notice' policy in that they rang the next person on the list and said 'Can you get them here tomorrow afternoon or someone else will have the room?' That's what they did to me anyway.
You will have to check the contract if you have one and see what the 'small print' says.
KR
E.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 8:01 pm
by bowlingbun
I'm pretty certain I had 48 hours to clear mum's room. I asked if they needed any reserve clothes, which they did, so I had very little to take home.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:12 pm
by Jane_1611
Thank you everyone for your comments and thoughts.

I'm going to ask the care home for a copy of the contract signed by my mum, as I'm reluctant to agree to pay from mum's estate without some evidence that there is a contract in place.

I have not been provided with a copy and a 'post death' charge was not mentioned when we were looking around the home. Back in 2014 we agreed verbally with the care home on a weekly care cost & what this would cover & since then I've received a regular invoice in line with what was agreed ( + increase each year).

But thinking about it all now (as you so...!) I don't recall these 'post death' charges being mentioned by ANY of the care homes we visited or that I contacted. Makes you think doesn't it?

Side tracking here ... I went shopping this morning & suddenly in the supermarket I was overcome by a huge wave of loss when I saw the Christmas cards & realised that I will never have to buy a card for my mum again. I felt so sad. It's strange isn't it when these feelings of grief can hit you...

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:37 pm
by bowlingbun
Yes, I've lost all four of our parents now, and my husband and my brother. I used to love buying those cards, especially for my mum who always carefully read the words of any card I sent her. After she died I found all my cards and letters I'd ever written.

Re: Care Home Fees

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:57 pm
by Pet66
When my mom died, the 1st Christmas I was actually choosing a card for her! Then it hit me. Surreal feeling. Now, when I send cards, I still write from P....... and R..... But it doesn't feel right as he doesn't know. I tell him, but it's forgotten shortly afterwards. To be honest I don't want to do cards this year?? Only to new found friends that I can just put my own name to.
Hope the care home fee situation is sorted promptly.