Frequently Asked Questions

For further information on Westcott or your care please click on the questions below

Questions about Westcott

How do I contact Westcott?

To find out how we can help you, call us on 0845 862 8600.  0845 numbers are charged at local rates from landlines, and count as 'inclusive minutes' in call plans from BT and TalkTalk. Charges from other providers and mobiles may vary. We can supply can alternative number upon request to

How is Westcott independent?

Westcott works for you, our Client.

Our reputation and entire service is founded on the philosophy of providing you with what we believe to be the best possible advice for your personal situation to ensure that you get the right care at the right time.

Your Care Consultant, and the rest of the Westcott team, are experienced professionals who are dedicated to doing the right thing and they are rewarded as such.

In order to make our service affordable, a proportion of our revenue comes from the providers we recommend. All the providers we recommend are assessed by Westcott and this information, along with the other research we carry out and your Care Consultant’s local knowledge, gives us a substantial understanding of the quality of care services they provide. This allows us to make our recommendations to you from a position of knowledge and insight.

All the providers we recommend are on similar contracts whereby they all pay the same rate for a referral. Importantly, Westcott is under no obligation to recommend any particular provider.

How much does Westcott cost?

Your initial assessment is absolutely free and there is no obligation for you to take things further with us.

We understand that care is expensive and can be unpredictable. The Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support found that a quarter of people aged 65 today can expect to spend over £50,000 on care in their lifetime.

Westcott believes that it is possible to reduce the total cost of care by ensuring that you receive the right care at the right time. This is one of our principal aims when providing advice to you.

As Westcott is a bespoke service, our costs depend on the level of service you use.

We strongly believe that the price we charge should be commensurate with the value of the service we provide. Furthermore, in order to maintain costs at a reasonable level, a proportion of our revenue comes from any provider we recommend that you ultimately end up using, thus reducing the burden on you.

Will my doctor be involved in my assessment?

Depending on your needs, your Care Consultant will ensure that you are comprehensively assessed by the right professionals. This may include medical specialists or other specialists such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

Your GP holds a lot of information on you and may have a good personal knowledge of your situation. Westcott will work with them to ensure that all relevant information is included in your assessment. Depending on your circumstances this may involve your GP being present and/or participating in your assessment.

Where will my assessment take place?

At Westcott we organise your assessment to fit in with you.

Depending on your circumstances your assessment might be carried out in your own or a family member’s home, at hospital or at your GP’s surgery.

What happens if I don’t agree with Westcott’s advice? Do I have to follow it?

Westcott and your Care Consultant will spend a lot of time getting to know you, your interests, wishes and desires as well as understanding your care needs. A considerable amount of work is then put into preparing your advice in order to ensure that it is right for you and your circumstances. Consequently, we are confident that you will find our advice and services extremely beneficial.

However, it is your care and therefore extremely important that you are comfortable with it. You are, of course, under no obligation to take any of the advice you receive from Westcott. If you are not happy or don’t agree with our advice your Care Consultant will be happy to discuss it with you and suggest alternatives if appropriate.

We believe that you will find that your Care Consultant has considered the advice they are giving extremely carefully and is more than happy to debate the rationale behind their recommendations. Ultimately, Westcott is here to help you. Regardless of whether you follow our advice or not, your Care Consultant will continue to support you with whatever care choices you choose to make.

I’ve already had an assessment from social services, how can Westcott help me?

Westcott offers many services to meet your specific needs.

Even if you have already been assessed, there are number of ways we can help you.

These may include helping you to challenge your Local Authority assessment from an eligibility perspective, advising you on the right provider to meet your care needs, helping you to organise your care, ensuring you’re receiving the right care and funding entitlements, or simply just providing you with emotional support.

For more information on the types of service we offer please click here

Can I visit care homes and/or other providers?

Yes. In fact Westcott encourages it.

It is of paramount importance for you to be and feel comfortable with the care you are receiving. Should you wish, your Care Consultant can arrange visits for you. They can also accompany you to make sure all your concerns and questions are addressed.

By law, each provider you use will need to carry out their own assessment of your needs to ensure that they can meet them. They will also draw up a detailed care plan.

Westcott can help here as well.

We can not only make sure that all your needs are being met but also ensure that you are not unnecessarily paying for services you don’t require.

There’s a lot of admin and form filling. Can Westcott help with that?

Yes. It is a burdensome fact that there is a considerable amount of paperwork associated with organising your care. The paperwork may include contracts with providers, information forms, care plans, funding applications or any number of other items.

Westcott can help relieve the burden.

We can make sure that all the correct paperwork is dealt with and even complete most of it for you. Our aim is to make your transition into care as smooth as possible.

How can Westcott possibly know about all the available options?

Care is a very local, community specific matter. Westcott operates locally.

Your Care Consultant is an experienced professional who is part of the community in which they work. They gather information from various local and national sources to ensure that they understand what is available to meet your needs.

As well as their own local community knowledge, this will include Westcott’s own proprietary assessment of providers, user feedback and third-party information such as that supplied by the Care Quality Commission.

By bringing all these sources together, your Care Consultant is best able to advise you on the available options in your local area.

Surely I can do all of this myself. Why do I need Westcott?

It is true that there is an increasing amount of information available to help you to organise your care yourself. At Westcott we welcome this.

However, we understand that many people are constrained by factors, such as time, which don’t allow them to fully absorb this information and identify that which is relevant to their personal circumstances.

We also understand that the information might be cumbersome and confusing. It is often difficult to know whether or not you are missing vital pieces of information.

This is where Westcott can help.

Your Care Consultant is a professional and an expert in care. Our advice is based on your specific circumstances and needs. We cut through to what is appropriate for you thus ensuring that you receive the right care to meet your needs. We know what to look out for and the questions to be asking.

Westcott understands that arranging care is a very personal matter and that it is important for you and your loved ones to be involved. Our services are bespoke, so depending on your requirements we can guide, lead, undertake, or simply provide you with emotional support and reassurance you need to ensure that everything that needs to be done is being done to high standard.

Can Westcott help with funding?

One of the things your Care Consultant will advise you on is any funding entitlements you might be eligible for. We can also recommend specialist financial advisers.

However, Westcott is not a financial adviser and cannot offer specific advice on financial products.

What happens when I contact Westcott? How does the Westcott process work?

First and foremost, Westcott will arrange for you to meet your Care Consultant.

Your Care Consultant is an experienced local care professional who will be responsible for providing you with all the appropriate Westcott services and advice.

All our client’s needs are different and our services are tailored to meet your personal requirements. Typically, at your first meeting, your Care Consultant will discuss your needs, wishes and desires with you and undertake an outcomes based care assessment. If necessary, they may arrange for the involvement of other professionals/ specialists.

Following your assessment your Care Consultant will agree your care needs with you. They will discuss options on the best way to take things forward. These will depend entirely on your personal circumstances but may include elements such as advice on the right provider(s) to meet your needs, funding entitlements, organising care etc.

From your very first interaction with Westcott your Care Consultant will continue to work for you. As well as proactively addressing your care needs, they are always available to answer your questions and help you in any way they can.

How long does it take to organise care through Westcott?

Your personal circumstances will dictate how long the process of organising care takes. Westcott aims to ensure that the process is as smooth, as quick and as efficient as possible.

We understand that by the time you contact Westcott there may be some urgency in your care requirements. Depending on your specific needs it can take anything from a few days to a few weeks to organise your care following your initial contact with Westcott.

Westcott sincerely hopes that our relationship with you doesn’t end once you are receiving care. We endeavour to build long-term relationships with our clients and continue to ensure you are receiving the right care at the right time. This allows us to continually improve our local knowledge and provide a first class service for our clients.

Questions about my care

When should I start thinking about care?

Westcott has found that typically a rapid change in circumstances, such as a deterioration in health, are key triggers for seeking care support. Prior to this type of event there has often been very little thought or care planning.

Westcott believes that in most cases by the time a client has started to look for care they could well have benefitted from some form of assistance for some time.

At Westcott, we believe that it is never too early to start thinking about care.

As well as providing you with immediate care solutions, we can help you plan for the future.

What type of care do I need?/ Why do I need an assessment?

The type of assistance you need is extremely personal and specific to you.

A thorough assessment focused on the outcomes you wish to achieve is the best starting point for determining your individual requirements.

It follows that only once we fully understand what it is that you would like to achieve then we can advise on the most suitable forms of assistance.

Other than Westcott where else can I go for advice?

There are a number of organisations, such as charities and the Government, that might be able to help you.

There is a wealth of information available that can sometimes be overwhelming. However, we believe that the links below are likely to be the most helpful:

Age UK - a national charity which aims to improve later life for everyone through information and advice, campaigns, products, training and research. They provide a wealth of information including various fact sheets, which may prove helpful.

Care Quality Commission - the Government organisation which checks whether hospitals, care homes and care services are meeting Government standards. All care providers need to be registered with the CQC. This website provides searchable details of all registered care providers as well as reports of Government inspections.

Counsel and Care - a national advice service working with older people, their families and carers to get the best care and support. They provide a lot of information on a range of community care issues, including finding and paying for care, welfare benefits, and hospital discharge.

In addition, your Local Authority’s Social Services Department may be able to “sign-post” you towards local services as well as providing care to those who satisfy their eligibility and means criteria.

What type of care is available?

There is a whole spectrum of care available but Westcott believes that these can be broadly defined under five headings:

  • Technology – Solutions that allow you to remain in your own home unassisted. These may be as simple as grab-rails or could involve more hi-tech solutions such as electronic monitoring devices or panic alarms.
  • Domiciliary Care – Assistance in your own home. Also known as home care. Typically this involves assistance with specific tasks, e.g. household chores, preparation of meals, bathing, getting up in the mornings, going to bed at night. There are various care agencies who can provide carers to meet your specific needs. This may also include a medical professional such as a District Nurse and might involve regular short visits or live-in care. This type of care may involve an Independent Carer employed by you on a personal basis.
  • Extra Care – Independent houses or apartments in a warden controlled area. Often called assisted or supported living. These facilities provide the flexibility for people to live independently, often in a community setting, with the knowledge that there is some care assistance available if necessary.
  • Residential Care Home – Facilities providing 24/7 care and assistance. Residential care homes are different from nursing homes in that they specialise in dealing with personal care needs rather than medical needs. The distinction can often be blurred as elderly residents typically have some medical needs which can be catered for in residential care homes, e.g. the distribution of medication for chronic diseases. Some care homes can also be used for a temporary stay, e.g. respite care (a brief stay to give existing carers a break) or convalescence following a stay in hospital.
  • Nursing Home – These are different to residential care homes in that they specialise in providing medical care for people with chronic conditions.

For how long will I need care?

Once you begin to need assistance it is likely that you will continue to need some form of care for the rest of your life, albeit your care requirements may change over time.

The length of time you use care will depend very much on your personal circumstances.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people going into extra care housing will continue to live there for 10+ years, whereas those receiving domiciliary care may continue to do so for 2-5 years.

Research carried out by the Personal Social Services Research Unit in 1999 (the latest available) estimated length of stay in care homes at 38 months for residential care and 20 months for nursing care.

This is consistent with an ad hoc report carried out by Bupa/CPA based on a census of Bupa care home residents. In 2010, for a population predominantly made up of nursing care residents, the Bupa/CPA report found that the average length of stay was 19.7 months.

I don’t want to go into a care home, I’ve heard awful things about them.

It is true that there continues to be a lot of bad press about care homes and many of us have preconceived ideas about what they’re like.

As with most things, the truth is that most care homes are high quality establishments that provide an essential service to their clients, albeit a minority have tarnished the sector’s reputation.

A report published by the NHS Information Centre in December 2011 found that of 9,595 respondents surveyed in residential care homes, 73% were extremely or very satisfied with the service. The figure for nursing homes, based on 2,570 respondents, was slightly lower with 63% being extremely or very satisfied.

Westcott believes that one of its primary roles is to ensure that its clients are presented with care solutions that meet their desires as well as their needs.

In practice this means that we will endeavour to find suitable alternatives to care homes if possible, if that is the wish of our client. There are many other types of care provision which might be suitable to meet your care requirements, e.g. domiciliary care, extra care housing, technological solutions.

Furthermore, we take our role in distinguishing between the good and the not so good quality providers very seriously.

We also understand that this may change over time, which is why part of a Care Consultant’s job is to stay up-to-date with what is happening in the local community.

I’m nervous about letting strangers into my home to care for me.

This is a common concern relating to domiciliary care.

The vast majority of organisations are reputable and have stringent quality control guidelines and procedures including training and CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks.

Many providers will endeavour to ensure that you receive your care from the same carers in order that you know who you are letting into your home.

Westcott assesses all the providers that we recommend so that we can provide you with all the necessary information about them in order to allay your concerns.

General questions about elderly care

How much will my care cost?

It is a sad fact that social care can be expensive and unpredictable.

The Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support found that a quarter of people aged 65 today can expect to spend over £50,000 on care in their lifetime.

According to a Laing & Buisson fee survey in financial year 2011/12 the average fees for elderly care home residents across the UK were £722 per week for nursing care and £524 per week for residential care.

The cost of extra care is akin to the purchase or renting of property. However, this does not include any service charges. Depending on the types of facilities, an extra care annual service charge (before the cost of any care services) could be around £5,000.

Domiciliary care is charged on an hourly basis. The average number of contact hours per service user per week in 2010 was 10.4. Consequently, Westcott estimates that domiciliary care will typically cost around £140-150 per week on average. The cost of your care will depend on a number of factors, such as your specific needs, the provider and your geographic location.

Who pays for my care?

Unlike healthcare, which is funded by the Government through the NHS, social/personal care remains the responsibility of the individual. Local Authorities will help fund those with eligible needs but limited means.

Currently, if you have assets (including property, investments and savings) in excess of £23,250 then you will likely be liable for all your personal care costs.

However, it is not quite as straight-forward as that as funding entitlements are specific to Local Authority regions and your individual requirements.

There are various sources of funding and entitlements that you may be eligible for depending on the type of care you receive. For example, regardless of your social care requirements the Government, through the NHS, will pay for your healthcare costs.

There is a wealth of information available on funding entitlements. Westcott can help you determine what is appropriate for your specific circumstances. For further information please click here.

Shouldn’t the Government be providing a service like Westcott and paying for my care?

Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for help and funding from your Local Authority’s Social Services department.

Your Local Authority’s Social Services department has a duty in law to carry out a care assessment under three different circumstances:

  • If you appear to the Local Authority to be in need of a community care service (NHS and Community Care Act 1990, s47)
  • If you are disabled (NHS and Community Care Act 1990, s47; and Disabled Persons (Services, Representation and Consultation) Act 1986, s4)
  • If you help or look after someone else (Disabled Persons (Services, Representation and Consultation) Act 1986, s4 and s8; Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995, s1; Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000; Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004).

A “community care service” may include: assistance in the home; day care; night care; care in a care home; provision of aids and equipment or other home adaptations; “meals on wheels”; advice and information; services for carers; community transport.

A Local Authority is NOT obliged to offer a care assessment to someone who has no difficulty in carrying out the usual activities of daily living for themselves.

The Local Authority’s “needs” assessment will also examine your eligibility. Each Local Authority sets its own eligibility criteria within Government guidelines. If you meet the eligibility criteria (you have “eligible needs”) then the Local Authority has a duty to arrange or provide the appropriate community care to ensure your eligible needs are met, but it is allowed to consider the most cost-effective way of doing this.

Click here for further information on eligibility criteria

Typically, the Local Authority will also carry out a “means test” to assess your finances and establish how much you should contribute towards the cost of those services. A Local Authority CANNOT refuse to assess your needs on the grounds that you would have to meet the full cost of any care provided yourself.

Every Local Authority is different and assessments and eligibility criteria vary. If you are entitled to Local Authority support, Westcott can help you navigate the process and ensure that you receive it.

In practice, Westcott has found that many Local Authorities only view those with Critical or Substantial needs as eligible for a community care service. If you qualify for a service then your social worker will often provide you with a list of suitable providers and may help you arrange your care. Whilst Local Authorities will “sign-post” suitable types of care provider, we have found that it is rare for them to make specific recommendations.

Depending on your means, your Local Authority may pay for some or all of your care or provide you with a personal budget to allow you to do so independently. Each Local Authority is different and the amount they will pay will depend on the type of care you receive. However, as a rule-of-thumb, if you have assets (including property, savings and investments) in excess of £23,250, then you are likely to be liable to pay for all of your care costs.

It should be noted that this refers to personal/social care only and the Government, through the NHS, will continue to pay for your healthcare.

Even if you are liable for your own costs, there may be other Government support and allowances that you are eligible for.

Westcott can help to ensure that you receive everything that you are entitled to.

Is the Government doing anything about Social Care?

The Government is looking to reform the care and support system in order to meet changes in society, provide people with greater choice and control over their care and support, improve quality standards and protect against the rising costs of care.

This reform is separate to the NHS and healthcare reform although integration of care is one of the key themes being addressed.

In November 2010, the Government set out its Social Care Vision.

In May 2011 the Law Commission produced a report on its recommendations for changes in legislation.

In July 2011 the Dilnot Commission on Funding of Care and Support made recommendations on how to fund care in the future.

Between September and December 2011, the Government engaged with people who use care and support services, carers, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector about the priorities for improving care and support.

After some delays, the Government published the ‘Caring for our future: reforming care and support’ White Paper in July 2012. This sets out a vision for a reformed care and support system. Specifically, the new system aims to:

  • focus on people's well-being and support them to stay independent for as long as possible;
  • introduce greater national consistency in access to care and support;
  • provide better information to help people make choices about their care;
  • give people more control over their care;
  • improve support for carers;
  • improve the quality of care and support;
  • improve integration of different services.

At the same time the Government published the draft Care and Support Bill. It creates a single law for adult care and support, replacing more than a dozen different pieces of legislation. It provides the legal framework for putting into action some of the main principles of the White Paper, ‘Caring for our future: reforming care and support’, and also includes some health measures. It is based largely on the recommendations of the Law Commission and is aimed at making the law surrounding care more straight-forward and easy to understand.

The Draft Bill does not fully address the issue of funding care. However, in July 2012, the Government also published a progress report on the issue of funding. In the report, the Government agreed that the principles of the Dilnot Commission’s model would be the right basis for any new funding model. It intends to introduce a new funding system based on these principles if a way to pay for this can be found. Decisions on this will be made at the Spending Review.

For more information on the Dilnot Commission please click here

The progress report also committed to introducing a Universal Deferred Payments scheme to make sure that no-one will be forced to sell their home in their (or their spouse’s) lifetime to pay for care. This, and some of Dilnot’s other non-financial recommendations, are included in the draft Bill.

Westcott supports the aims of the Bill and the Dilnot Commission. We continue to monitor the situation closely.

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