CHARGES are set to be introduced for people who stay in Borders care homes beyond their short-stay agreement.

The matter was discussed at a full Scottish Borders Council (SBC) meeting last month (December 17), with councillors agreeing to the recommendation to bring in the charge.

The charge, which will come into operation from April this year, will only impact those people who “choose to stay beyond the planned short-stay when they are ready to return home or move-on”.

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Those whose needs require them to stay in residential care for longer will not be charged.

Tweeddale West councillor Heather Anderson raised concerns about the proposal during the meeting.

She asked: “I’ve got concerns that if it's the council's fault that they’re not moved on, then will they [the service user] have to pay?”

In his response, SBC’s senior contracts officer Brian Paris said: “Some people are resistant to move on from a residential care setting.

“When someone is staying longer than they need they are charged. We wouldn’t charge if their needs require for them to be in that setting.”

Council leader Shona Haslam added: “I can assure you that if a care package isn’t in place they will not be charged for their extended stay.

“The Scottish Borders has one of the most generous packages of support for those requiring care in their homes across the whole of Scotland.”

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Short-stays in care homes in the Borders are not currently charged.

The new plans will see charges apply only after four weeks of the service user’s stay, in line with National Charging for Residential Accommodation Guidance (CRAG).

The report put to councillors ahead of the meeting listed a number of reasons why someone might use a short-stay room.

  • People who might be able to return home after a period of rehabilitation or reablement, following discharge from hospital and prior to returning home
  • People whose needs are to be assessed within the short-stay setting
  • People who have already had an assessment of their care needs and it is recommended that their care needs could only be met within a care home setting
  • People who have had their needs assessed and are awaiting availability of an interim or permanent care setting or for community based supports to be put in place
  • People who require specialist or continuing care
  • People who require home adaptations or equipment in order for their care and support needs to be met
  • Community care response/emergency

According to the report, there was an equal proportion of people who opposed and supported the change (29% in each category) during surveys conducted by SBC.

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