Recovery of Hospice Care Costs
Hospices provide essential end of life care to patients with terminal and life-shortening conditions. It is estimated that 200,000 people in the UK access direct support from hospices each year, 48% of whom access inpatient hospice care. Hospices not only provide invaluable support to patients, but they also provide support to the family and friends of patients .Recent figures estimate that they provide bereavement support to up to 41,000 people each year.
Hospices are almost always funded in part by charitable donations, which means that fundraising is vital to allow them to continue their amazing work. But fundraising is not the only means of assisting hospices. A landmark High Court ruling in 2010 (Drake & Starkey v Foster Wheeler) allowed hospices across the country to claim back some of the costs associated with the end of life care of mesothelioma victims. There is no set limit on the amount that can be claimed and it applies to inpatient care, as well as outpatient treatment and therapies where these have been provided to the patient by the hospice. Since this ruling, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been recovered for hospices across the UK. Given that £2.7 million pounds a day needs to be fundraised by charitable hospices across the UK every day, this was an extremely welcome legal development.
How does this work in practice?
If a patient has received hospice care and they (or their family) are happy for their lawyers to do so, your lawyer will contact the hospice to get confirmation of the costs of the care which have been provided and also ask them to confirm their funding arrangements. Only the element of the costs to the hospice not funded by the NHS can be claimed. If for example a patient was cared for in a hospice for 20 days and the hospice is 60% funded by voluntary/non-NHS funds and 40% NHS funded and they confirm that the cost per patient per day is £500, the calculation would be as follows:
£500 x 20 days x 60% (non NHS funded element) = £6,000
So in this case, £6,000 would be given to the hospice.
Patients and their families often welcome the amazing additional care and support which is provided by hospices. Recovering hospice care costs as part of the legal claim on their behalf, is a great way of ensuring they receive much needed funds, which will allow them to continue providing care to other patients and their families in similar circumstances.