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

Cole, Laura ORCID:, Samsi, Kritika and Manthorpe, Jill (2020) Professionals' views on the “optimal time” for people living with dementia to move to a care home. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. ISSN 0885-6230

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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.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1002/gps.5405
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This paper reports independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research (SSCR). [Grant number/reference: 16/IEC08/0035]
Keywords: care home, decision, dementia, qualitative research, social work
Subjects: Medicine and health > Health promotion and public health > Care homes
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine > Dementia
Medicine and health > Clinical medicine
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Depositing User: Laura Cole
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2021 13:55
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:05


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