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care home fees

A residential or nursing care home setting may be your best option for a safe and supportive environment, but that doesn’t change the worry you may feel about care home fees.

Wondering how you’ll pay your care home fees in England? Keen to understand what sort of care home funding may be available to help offset your care home costs?

In this guide, we’ll review the average costs of care homes in England. We’ll also introduce a range of funding options.

Let’s start by exploring the cost of a care home in England.

Care homes in England may charge for a combination of:

  • accommodation (sometimes called the hotel cost, this can apply to a residential care home or a nursing care home)
  • personal care in a residential care home (24/7 support is provided by qualified care assistants who support you in washing, dressing, dining and socialising)
  • nursing care in a nursing care home (24/7 support in the same key areas is overseen by registered nurses, and is designed for people with specific medical requirements)

If you’re moving into a nursing care home, you’ll pay all three fees. However, you won’t pay for nursing care if you live in a residential care home. 

Different sources of funding can be allocated to each service. Depending on your needs and financial ability, you may be entitled to public funding.

To find out whether you qualify for public funding, you should first arrange a care needs assessment through your local authority. The needs assessment will evaluate your day-to-day support requirements. Using input from a team of medical professionals, the assessment is designed to reveal whether your needs should be supported within a 24/7 care home environment, or whether you can continue to live at home.

You must book the assessment prior to agreeing any care contracts. The assessment marks the first step in accessing government support with care home services, as well as in-home care services, special equipment and healthcare. It will identify the type and level of care required, as well as how it should be provided.

Critically, if you don’t book an assessment, but proceed to arrange care for yourself or on behalf of a loved one, you may lose out on potential funding.


The cost of care home fees in England


Let’s start by exploring the cost of nursing care homes, as well as residential care homes, in England.


Care homes in England will set you back at least several hundred pounds per week, if not more, as reported by Which? Elderly Care. (See note 1.)

Average weekly costs of care homes in England

(2016-2017 research by LaingBuisson)

RegionNursing care homeResidential care home
East Midlands£725£578
East of England£986£673
Greater London£949£741
North East£666£563
North West£766£511
South East£1,041£702
South West£927£655
West Midlands£837£573
Yorkshire and Humber£755£546


If you want to consider the fees on an annual basis, you’ll find that the average cost of a single year in a London residential care home will set you back more than £40,000, according to the UK Care Guide. (See note 2.)

In Berkshire, the average cost would be nearly £47,000. Devon would cost more than £37,000, while Greater Manchester comes in at around £28,500.

Care homes in Gloucestershire, meanwhile, tally in at nearly £50,000 on average.


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Do you qualify for care home funding in England?

According to Which? Elderly Care, residents of England — and Northern Ireland — should qualify for full support if they own less than £14,250 in savings and assets. (See note 3.)

However, if you receive full funding, you’ll be expected to contribute the majority of your income (including benefits) to the local authority. Your personal expenses allowance is excluded.

If you have between £14,250 and £23,250 in capital, you’ll need to contribute £1 for every £250 of your savings between that amount, on a weekly basis, towards your care home expenses. You’ll also be required to contribute the majority of your income, excluding your personal expenses allowance, towards your care home fees.

If you have capital of more than £23,250, you’ll be required to use this to pay the entire cost of your care home. Equally, if you have less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income considered high enough to cover the cost of your care home fees, you’ll be responsible for paying the full care home cost.  

People in this final category are known as ‘self-funders’, and they represent two in five people in care homes. (See note 4.)


Other options to pay for a care home


Many people immediately think that the only realistic option to pay for a care home is to sell their own home. But other options exist. 


For example, you could explore:


  • Care home ‘top-ups’: a friend or relative may be willing to provide a top-up, which can enable you to select a care home that costs more than the amount provided for by your council
  • Care home insurance: after an initial lump sum is paid, an Immediate Need Care Fee Annuity provides regular tax-free income towards your care home placement
  • Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care: the NHS may continue to pay for your care if your support needs can be met outside a hospital
  • Charitable funds: in emergency situations, financial support may be available from a charitable or benevolent fund


Find out more information about paying for a care home if you don’t qualify for local authority funding.


Getting re-assessed for care needs


Regardless of your current circumstances, you are entitled to have your care needs and finances reassessed every six months, or possibly sooner if you experience a dramatic change of circumstances. Contact your local authority’s social care department to arrange a follow-up care and/or financial assessment. Be sure to do this as soon as possible, particularly if you’re concerned that your financial situation may soon fall into a different threshold.



Are care homes free in England?
Unfortunately staying at a care home in England is not free, however depending on your specific situation there is funding available to help support the costs. It is recommended to seek financial support to discuss the options available to you.

How much do residential care homes and nursing homes in England cost?
The average cost of care homes in England, varies greatly depending on where you live. In greater London you can expect to pay £949 per week for nursing home care and £741 a week for residential care homes.

Is funding available to help with the costs of care homes in England?
Council funding for care home accommodation is linked to a person’s savings and assets. If you have less than £14,250 you could qualify for full support.

Do you have to sell your house to pay care home fees in England?
Depending on your financial position you may need to sell your home to pay care home fees. However, there are circumstances where your house would not be included in the financial assessment, so it is recommended to always seek financial advice.


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  1. “Financing A Care Home”, Which? Elderly Care,  https://www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/financing-care/financing-a-care-home/381597-care-home-fees (27 April 2018)
  2. https://ukcareguide.co.uk/care-home-costs/ Based on entry into a residential care home in 2018.
  3. https://www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/financing-care/financing-a-care-home/349166-capital-limits-for-care-homes Figures apply to 2018-2019.
  4. https://www.saga.co.uk/money/care-funding-advice/what-you-need-to-know-about-care-home-fees




Last updated 03 May 2018


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