New Government guidelines will aim to give patients a greater choice over care home accommodation, according to health minister Stephen Ladyman.
Under the Choice of Accommodation Directions 1992 councils are obliged to offer patients a choice of care homes that provide the level of care that they need.
The new guidelines suggest that councils should consider offering patients care in more expensive accommodation, if the patient or relatives are willing to pay the difference between the council's standard fees and the fees of the care home.
However, if a patient has to move into a care home whose fees are higher than the council's standard fees because of the specialised level of care they need, the council should meet all additional costs.
Health minister Stephen Ladyman said that the new guidance will ensure that people are able to make active choices about accommodation.
He added: "I want to see people receiving good quality care in a place that's right for them. In the majority of cases this will mean living close to family and friends and continuing to contribute to their local community."
(c) 1998-2004 DeHavilland Information Services plc. All rights reserved.