King's College London

Research portal

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number1
PublishedJan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Social Care Research. Funding Information: This paper reports independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research (SSCR). The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR SSCR, the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. [Grant number/reference: 16/IEC08/0035]. Publisher Copyright: © 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454