There are many cases where care fees should have been paid for by the NHS; NHS Continuing Care is a legal entitlement for those whose care needs are primarily on health grounds.

Research has highlighted the fact that the NHS and Local Authorities do not always follow Department of Health guidelines when it comes to reaching decisions about who should pay for long-term elderly care.

As a result, tens of thousands of elderly people in care homes every year are unlawfully forced to pay for care that should rightly be funded by the NHS.

In addition, many people also find that health and social care employees are not always aware of the correct procedures to follow, or which forms to complete, or even the legal framework within which they're making funding decisions. So it's absolutely vital to double-check all the information you're given by your local authority and the NHS. They may give you incorrect information – even if it's done with good intent.

The NHS is obligated to pay 100% of care home fees if your or your loved one's need for care is primarily for health reasons. There are a number of organizations which can help you make sure that if care fees should be NHS funded, then they actually are NHS funded. They can help you understand the assessment process and fully know your rights – both key to making sure that the funding decision adheres to the legal guidelines.

The NHS is also owed to refund people retrospectively for care fees wrongly charged in the past. This includes reimbursing the estate of someone who has already died. So it's never too late to challenge the system if you believe that you have been unfairly treated.

Challenging funding decisions can be daunting. Knowing how the system works and being sure of your rights is a crucial first step. You will then be able to ensure that assessments and their consequent decisions are carried out in the appropriate way. This can mean that a huge burden is lifted for families; if the care of their loved one / s is principally for health grounds then it will mean that they do not have to fund care from savings or the sale of property, but rather that the NHS will pay the c fees in full. At a time that can be riddled with emotional turmoil, this can be a real life-line.