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NIHR School for Social Care Research

Investigating "optimal time": Multiple perspectives on the timing of moving into care homes for people with dementia

Do you work with people with dementia in England?

If the answer is yes, then we would like to invite you to complete our short, online survey about whether and if there is ‘a best time’ for a person with dementia to move to a care home.

You may be a home care worker, nurse, occupational therapist, GP, social worker, Admiral nurse; you may be working in a day centre, a hospital or in a care home. We have already talked to people with dementia and their families, so this survey is really for paid workers and managers. Please contact the researcher, Laura, if you have any queries about this (details below).

This research is important because many people with dementia and their carers are unsure if and when there is a ‘right’ time to move to a care home. The findings from this study will provide ideas to what to take into account for people with dementia thinking of moving to a care home and the individuals who support them, based on real life experiences.

If you would like to take part or receive further information about this survey, then please email, or write to Laura Cole at: The Social Care Workforce Research Unit, The Policy Institute at King’s, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS.


This text as a pdf.

Posted on this site on 14 November 2018. 

About this study

The project will produce empirical evidence regarding what may be the most optimal time (if any) for a person with dementia to move to a care home.


2016 – 2018

Research team

Kritika Samsi, Jill Manthorpe and Laura Cole (SCWRU).


NIHR School for Social Care Research

SSCR Summary

NIHR School of Social Care Research project summary


A clearer understanding of the factors that people with dementia, carers, and professionals use to make decisions about when might be the best or optimal time (if any) to consider moving into a care home has been called for. We know this is a question that is vitally important to people with dementia and carers and practitioners from the Alzheimer’s Society and James Lind Alliance Priority Setting exercise. However, there is currently limited empirical evidence regarding how the decision for a person with dementia to move into a care home evolves.


There are 3 parts to this project. Part 1: Systematic review of existing literature, Part 2: Qualitative interviews with people with dementia living in care homes, their family carers, and care home managers, and social workers asking them about their experiences and opinions of moving to a care home; and Part 3: Factorial survey with practitioners working in dementia services using a series of vignettes to determine what set of factors contribute to making a decision about a person with dementia moving into a care home.


We have completed the systematic review and will be submitting this a paper to be published shortly. We are currently recruiting participants for Part 2, the qualitative interviews with people with dementia, family carers, care home managers and social workers.


News in brief: Study on care home decisions. Journal of Dementia Care (2017), 1(25): 6.


Cole, L., Samsi, K., & Manthorpe, J. (2018). Is there an “optimal time” to move to a care home for a person with dementia? A systematic review of the literature. International Psychogeriatrics. doi:10.1017/S1041610218000364


Cole, L. (2018) 'Do social workers consider there to be an ‘optimal’ time for a person with dementia to move to a care home?' Workforce perspectives on the care and support of older people in England, King's College London, 25 April.


We will use information from this study to develop and publish Factsheets for people with dementia and the social care workforce, and publicise findings to relevant stakeholder groups, including the media, so that people with dementia and carers living in the community will have access to this information. 

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