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No universal “best time” for people living with dementia to move to a care home, study finds

Wednesday 09 October 2019

Researchers at the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King's College London, United Kingdom, have completed a study called the “Optimal Time Study”, investigating when might be the best time for a person with dementia to move to a care home. The study, which drew on the experiences of people living with dementia and family carers as well as social workers and care home managers, found that there is no such thing as a universal “best time”.

“We would emphasise the value of conversation – really talking to people with the right experience – in managing potential distress and exploring options as early as possible,” said Dr Kritika Samsi, who led the team at NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit (HSCWRU). She continued: “It was clear from this study that determining the ‘right time’ for any move was highly individual, contextual and not dependent on the ‘stage’ of someone’s dementia.”

Her colleague Dr Laura Cole who interviewed many of the people affected by dementia in this study added: “Moving to a care home was a highly emotional time for many families. And some continued to ruminate on their decision long after it had happened. It is important to bear in mind that there is no perfect time – but the aim is that everyone’s point of view is taken into account.”

NIHR press release about the study:

NIHR full summary findings, published on 9 October 2019: