Public views sought for new residential care guidelines

CCPC wants submissions from older people in long-term residential care, their families or representatives

The views of older people in long-term residential care and their families are being sought by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Photograph: iStock

The views of older people in long-term residential care and their families are being sought by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Photograph: iStock

 

The views of older people in long-term residential care and their families are being sought by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) as it draws up guidelines for contracts governing such services.

The new guidelines will clearly set out the obligations and responsibilities that service providers must adhere to under European law, but before they are completed the CCPC is seeking the views of the wider public.

“For older consumers the decision to enter a care home is significant. In addition to the personal implications there are significant financial commitments attached to this care. For many this is the most significant contract that they, or their families, will sign up to in their lifetime,” said the CCPC’s Fergal O’Leary.

While a contract of care is a “vital legal document” and sets out the terms and conditions a resident is bound by, most are standard and the terms have been drafted in advance “so there is little or no opportunity for an older person, or their representative, to negotiate or change these terms,” he continued.

“Given the contract’s obvious importance it is essential that residents or whoever is representing them, are provided with the terms and conditions in a language that can be understood.” Mr O’Leary said. “And crucially, that they are not bound by terms that the law considers unfair.”

The CCPC started examining the contracts of care in long-term residential care services for older people last September and as part of the process wants submissions from residents, their families or representatives who have at any time been involved in organising such a contract.

Service providers are also being invited to make a submission and provide information about the care contracts they offer.

“At the end of this examination we want to produce a set of guidelines, to inform service providers who are providing standard care contracts of their obligations under consumer protection law,” Mr O’Leary said. “The project and this public consultation in particular has been designed to ensure that the guidelines we produce are informed by the experiences of both consumers and traders.”