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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

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.


Research Findings

Samsi, K., Cole, L. & Manthorpe, J. (2019) Investigating ‘optimal time’: Perspectives on the timing of people living with dementia moving into care homes. London: NIHR School for Social Care Research.


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.

Professional press

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


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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