Lawyer warns about elderly care fees

22nd September, 2014

Nicola Hawes with René Legrand & Hilda Wadams

Nicola Hawes with René Legrand & Hilda Wadams

A Shropshire legal expert is urging elderly people and their families to fight against care charges being wrongfully imposed by the local authority.

Nicola Hawes, of Wace Morgan Solicitors, says that hundreds of care home residents may be affected by Shropshire Council’s unlawful actions.

“We are dealing with more and more cases where elderly people and their families feel threatened into paying additional care costs when their own money runs out,” said Nicola, who specialises in this area of the law with Shrewsbury-based Wace Morgan.

“In many of these cases the council is not within its rights to ask for ‘top up’ fees but sadly a considerable number of older, vulnerable residents and their families do not realise this,” she said.

With the kind permission of our client, Nicola highlighted the story of Mrs Hilda Wadams who is 94 years old and has been living at Hendra House Residential Home in Sandpits Road, Ludlow, for around four years.

Her son, René Legrand, approached Wace Morgan when Shropshire Council demanded top up fees of around £100 a week when his mother’s own funds ran out earlier this year.

“The council threatened to move her to a cheaper dementia unit miles away – even though she does not have dementia – but we were ultimately successful in challenging this, arguing that the authority had a legal duty to meet the full cost of care fees ‘where the needs of the individual warrant it and there is nowhere cheaper that can meet their needs in the same way’.

“The outcome was that Shropshire Council eventually agreed to meet the full fees and, most importantly, for Mrs Wadams and her family she did not have to move.”

Her son Mr Legrand said that his mother had made extremely good friends with fellow residents and staff at Hendra House and it was vital that she received care in Ludlow to ensure he and his wife could support her.

“It was an inexcusably despicable proposal by the local authority to move my mother to a dementia unit in order that the fees would correspond to their totally inadequate ‘cap’.

“Fortunately, Wace Morgan maintains a department for the interests of the elderly, and a ‘sheriff’ in the form of the very astute Nicola Hawes, who successfully guided me through the various pitfalls, curve-balls and blind-alleys which are the currency of bureaucratic smokescreen.

“It’s not just a money saving issue. The stress and anxiety that families go through in the fight to protect their relatives against a nameless committee is quite appalling and having endured it with three relatives, I regard an advocate like Nicola from Wace Morgan an asset of incalculable emotional benefit as it is really tough going it alone.”

Nicola Hawes said that Wace Morgan had a specialist elderly care department, including some staff who were members of the national Solicitors for the Elderly organisation. It is estimated that the firm saves elderly residents and their families thousands of pounds a year by challenging the council, as many top up fees are between £100- £300 a week.

For further information please contact Nicola Hawes on 01743 266 867