Consumer law advice sets out obligations for care homes

The CMA is providing advice so care homes understand their responsibilities under consumer law.

The advice is being published as part of the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) ongoing consumer protection work into residential care homes and nursing homes for older people (over 65s).

It follows the CMA’s
examination of the sector last year, which found that some residents
are at risk of being treated unfairly and recommended urgent action to
reform the sector.

The CMA has also published an open letter
to care homes, reminding them of their responsibilities under consumer
law and urging them to review the advice immediately.  Care homes may
need to make changes to their contract terms and business practices as a
result.

Working with its partners, such as Trading Standards, the CMA
will be conducting a review in 12 months’ time to assess how well care
homes are complying with consumer law. It may take further action before
then if it finds care homes are treating residents and their families
unfairly and breaking the law.

What care homes across the UK need to do to ensure they are treating their residents fairly, including

  • what upfront information they should give to potential residents,
    their families or other representatives and when (through websites, over
    the phone and when people visit) to help them make informed choices.
    This includes giving an indication of the weekly fees charged to
    self-funders and highlighting any especially important or surprising
    terms and conditions that will apply (such as any requirement for
    residents to prove they can pay for their own care for a minimum period
    of time)
  •  

  • how to make sure contract terms and the way residents and their representatives are treated is fair
  •  

  • how to handle complaints fairly and ensure their complaints procedure is easy to find and use

The CMA has also published a short guide for care homes  to accompany the full advice, as well as a short guide for residents and their families that explains their rights under consumer law.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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