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The Optimal Time Study: Multiple perspectives on the timing of moving into care homes by people with dementia


Deciding when to move to a care home may be difficult for some people with dementia and their carers. Our review of the literature suggested that people with dementia are often not included in decisions, potentially impacting on longer-term adjustment in the care home. Determining when (if any) is an ‘optimal time’ to move may be challenging. This study explored: (1) factors that affect decision to move; (2) drivers of this decision; (3) when (if any) may be considered an ‘optimal’ time.




NIHR School for Social Care Research


This was a three-part study. Part 1: a systematic review to identify gaps in current understanding. Part 2: qualitative interviews with people living with dementia in care homes, family carers, care home managers and social workers. Part 3: factorial survey presented to dementia care practitioners to ascertain which combination of factors are used to decide if or when a person living with dementia should move to a care home.


Findings reveal how emotionally intense the experience of making a decision about a care home move may be, and that carers would like more support at this time. The factorial survey was completed by 100 dementia care practitioners. This found that the person living with dementia's wishes were the over-riding factor that influenced practitioners’ decisions on the time of a move.

See our publications under Outputs below.

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NIHR School for Social Care Research

Project status: Completed

Principal Investigator