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Professionals' views on the “optimal time” for people living with dementia to move to a care home

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Published18 Aug 2020

King's Authors


The decision about the best time for a person living with dementia to move to a care home involves the individual and others, particularly family. However, little is known about care professionals' views on the best time to move, particularly those with decision‐making authority. This study investigated social workers' and care home managers' views on whether there is an “optimal time” for a move.
A qualitative, phenomenological approach was employed, using semi‐structured interviews with 20 social workers and 20 care home managers in England; all with experience of advising people living with dementia about a care home move and making decisions about funding or acceptance. Interviews were audio‐recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically.
Four overarching themes emerged from the data: (1) staying at home for as long as possible but avoiding crisis, (2) balancing risks proactively and anticipating triggers, (3) desires for the person living with dementia to be involved in the decision, and (4) the significance of funding in enabling choices about a care home move.
Deciding on the timing of a care home move is context and person specific. Two professional groups with substantial experience of this among their client group both recommended proactive deliberation but funding was overall the deciding factor in the extent to which they considered choice was possible. Future research should avoid seeing all care home moves as negative and explore how practitioners can best encourage discussions prior to crisis point about care home options.

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