A-Z

Paying for social care (older people)

Moving care homes

This page covers:
• Reasons why people may move to another care home
• Care home costs and how long they can be afforded
• Balancing the benefits and risks of a move

Several people said they were told that once someone is living in residential care, it is risky for them to move to a new care home. We spoke to people who tried to choose a care home that would serve them until the end of life. However, some people, for a variety of reasons, found they had to move to a new care home. Here we share the experiences of those who moved, the decisions they made and how they physically moved between care homes.

Hannah’s mum was living in a care home near to her. When Hannah relocated, the family decided it would be best to find a care home in her new location. St John’s Ambulance helped with the move and Hannah and her sister and brother feel their mum is getting much better care now.

 

Hannah was worried about the move but the outcome was good, her mum’s diet and health improved.

Hannah was worried about the move but the outcome was good, her mum’s diet and health improved.

Age at interview: 53
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Mum was in a very bad way she’d fallen two and a half years before that which then had meant that she’d be, literally two weeks after her fall she became bedridden, and although she would sit in a wheelchair she, her mobility was totally gone. She’d also been put on a liquid diet but it wasn’t a very good liquid diet and she’d been suffering from bedsores. So we made the decision to move her and that seemed the best thing to do, although it was with some trepidation, because anecdotally people say that people who move homes in her state don’t normally do it, but we decided to do it. So St John’s Ambulance were fantastic they actually provided the ambulance to be able to move her and I was able to travel with her in the ambulance all the way up; and they were absolutely brilliant, talking to her the whole time, checking her medi- her vitals, etc, and when she arrived at the home she was really made to feel welcome and that was brilliant. What was interesting though was that the new home totally reviewed mum’s diet looked at what she could eat, they tried her back on solid food and for a few weeks we were actually successful, but then she stopped eating solid food so they then put her onto a pureed diet but it was proper food that was reduced to a consistency that was good for her, and her appetite improved considerably. And also bar the, a bedsore on the first week that she was there she hasn’t had a bedsore now for three years; and we do believe that’s because her diet improved considerably. At the old home the doctors had put her on supplements; those were all removed and she was getting all the nutrition that she needed from the food that she was given. And they were brilliant, they got her, they get her up every week so that she still has her hair done which I still think that takes her back to a happy time, because she loved having her hair done once a week. So it’s been considerable, a considerable improvement, and I think she’s defying laws of science at the moment now because she’s doing really well, so, although her weight, her weight is going down she’s still doing well, yeah.

Not all care homes have the facilities to care for people who need nursing care or have advanced dementia. Some people told us that a move to a new care home was forced by increased care needs.

 

Sinclair’s wife was in a local care home but, after a fall, the hospital said she needed nursing care.

Sinclair’s wife was in a local care home but, after a fall, the hospital said she needed nursing care.

Age at interview: 92
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

My daughter and I scurried round in some haste but we did actually find a care home in [Town] which appealed because of its convenience, it was actually then half a mile of our home and Audrey went in there. It wasn’t totally unsatisfactory, it was a well run place and it was clean and it was and the people were caring but unfortunately she had another fall. This I think was more serious she was ambulanced into, back into hospital and this time they said that her condition was such that they didn’t think she could be released to a care home without nursing facilities. My daughter had been in contact with [care home] and quite suddenly came up with the news that they could actually take her in as a nursing resident which we accepted and when she was discharged from hospital she was discharged straight here so that took us from a start in April to here in November, which, [care home] kindly said that in my condition perhaps [laughs] all my caring showed that I could have if I wished have a week’s respite care beside Audrey which would have the advantage I could see her in and see that she was all right and I accepted and while I was there I got to know the place fairly well I suppose and fortunately one of the residents was leaving, his room was available in the main building and I was offered it and we took it.

Sometimes, when a care home had to be found in a hurry, people said they had not had time to look at all the options.

 

Tracey knew the home could not cope with her dad long-term but she had no choice.

Tracey knew the home could not cope with her dad long-term but she had no choice.

Age at interview: 59
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Did you ever have any indication that that might be something that would happen further down the line, that he was going to have to move?

Yeah.

Would there have been a different choice around...?

There was no other choice really; they didn’t really want him in the first place but there was no other choice at the time; I had to do something quickly. In hindsight, I would have taken a sabbatical from work and spent more time up there looking, but there was an urgency because he was getting violent; and I really didn’t want him to be sectioned, which is what they could have done if things had got worse, or pushed mum down the stairs or something. I didn’t want it to get to that stage because it could have done quite quickly, yeah.

Yeah. So you knew that it might be a temporary solution?

Yeah, and I was hoping, because it was a nice place, it was lovely food, mum could go, she could have lunch with him as well, they did a few activities; I knew really it wasn’t geared up for how bad he was going to get and they knew that too, but they didn’t really want to take him but they did.

And some people we spoke to did not realise that their loved one would have to move if their needs increased.

 

Hannah says her mum will not get NHS continuing healthcare unless she moves to a different care home.

Hannah says her mum will not get NHS continuing healthcare unless she moves to a different care home.

Age at interview: 53
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

By all accounts we were, we’d always been aware that because she had a house she would have to be self-funding so there was no chance of any assistance with that. A few years ago I did go through with [name] County Council at the time, a request to see if she could have continuing healthcare but after three hours of a very long interview and going through every single detail of mum’s care we were told she didn’t qualify for it. So that’s quite difficult when you see other people getting funding and since we’ve recently moved to, now to being, I’ve moved house so we’ve moved to a new care home, because she’s in a residential care, not a nursing home, we’ve been told that if she did qualify for continuing healthcare, whether she does or she doesn’t, then it’s all likelihood that she would need to be moved into a nursing home; and having moved her once I would be reluctant to move her again. So I’m in a big dichotomy at the moment as to whether I do apply for it.

A few people told us that they had chosen a move to a newly opened care home which had wonderful facilities. But because they were new, there were no reviews and no residents when they looked round so it was difficult to get a feel of the place.

 

Hazel’s dad did not benefit from the modern facilities so he moved to a home that was more suitable.

Hazel’s dad did not benefit from the modern facilities so he moved to a home that was more suitable.

Age at interview: 72
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

So off we went to [Care home X]; and although it was clean, he was well cared for, it was [sighs] shall we say like a hotel? So it was like going into sort of, I don’t know, like I don’t know, Premier Inn or something; long corridor, all the doors shut, and although it was great if you were able to get out your room and walk around because they had, they had a gym, they had a hairdressing salon, they had a cinema, they had a bar, all that, but he was not interested. So his outlook was his room, basically, and whoever came in and out of the room. So we then thought he, we, he can’t stay here, it’s OK for the moment but he can’t stay this is soul destroying; if he’d lost the will to live before he went into hospital then this is going to finish him off and it’s just not nice. So talking to people, because again we, I didn’t know what I should do for the best, but talking to people and I play golf; so the ladies at the golf club were saying, oh [Care home Y], it’s terrific, it’s, we know people that have been in there, etc, etc, and I said, “I’ve never heard of it.” So we then paid a visit and of course it was like chalk and cheese. Walking into [Care home Y] was a hive of activity, it was buzzing, the atmosphere was alive and I thought “oh my God”, because he was ex-serviceman then all these poppies everywhere, British Legion everywhere, I thought oh this would be fantastic for him because he would have something in common and it actually might bring him back to, to life, so to speak. And it was a question of you’re on a waiting list so we thought OK, we won’t move him back home to move him back out again, we’ll keep him in [Care home X], and I think he was in [Care home X] for about four or five weeks then we got a place. So then we moved him to [Care home Y], and again it, it was just so different, it was; I mean it’s just really difficult to explain because from the point of view of if you’re old and infirm it [sighs] you don’t want to be in a like, in a hotel-like situation in a care home because it’s just soul destroying and although it was brand spanking new and smart and upmarket and everything it might, it didn’t make any difference to my father; there was no, the doors were shut on the corridor and it was just like being in a hotel room. So we got him to [Care home Y]

Moving from one care home to another in a different part of the country can have an impact on the cost of care fees. In particular, care home fees in the south of England are generally more expensive than the north. 

 

Jacky and her brother decided to take the risk to move their mum to a new care home after their dad died.

Jacky and her brother decided to take the risk to move their mum to a new care home after their dad died.

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

We both agreed that we wanted to get her out of where she was, but the problem was could we do it financially, and the other thing was that we were afraid about you don’t know what the effect is going to be mentally on moving someone with dementia. But as it turned out, and, which was what I thought, a year on she’s completely stable and having me visit for an hour three times a week is much better than going up for long visits once a month. So it’s been both emotionally and in every way it’s been, it’s been a good move, yes.

A good move, yeah.

But it was a risk.

A few people told us about helping a parent to move to a different care home at the same time as being aware that their money was running low. This meant the council might soon have to start contributing to their care home fees. People said it was important to think about what would happen if they needed help with fees from their council’s adult social care department. For more information about this, see What happens when money for care runs out.

 

Deryck worried about his mum’s money running out when her care home closed down and she had to move.

Deryck worried about his mum’s money running out when her care home closed down and she had to move.

Age at interview: 71
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

But in the intervening time, two years in, so 2015, the care home in; so she moved to [town C] the, that care home was relatively small and expensive to run and needed quite a lot of work doing on it and [name of care provider] decided they were going to close it and where was my mum going to go? So they’ve got a number of places in [County B], they needed to have an EMI unit so that restricted it, and we had a look around and were struggling until we met a family of another lady in, in [town C], who said, “Have you been to [town D]?” Which I’d discounted largely on distance but when I applied some sensible thought to it the distance really was no greater than [town E] which would have been where they had three potentials. So we went to [town D] and it was just one of these sort of Eureka moments, yeah, that was the place for her to go. So she moved there; Social Services well [County B] finance were involved because they had to basically agree that they would transfer to there, but that was fairly straightforward. So no massive nail biting at that point, but there was a lot of nervous tension when her money got down to the level where she could no longer completely self-fund; and they put you through a few hoops and there was a great deal of anxiety on our behalf that if she couldn’t stay at [town D] where was she going to go, or were we going to pay top-up?

 

Jacky knew her mum’s money was running out so she got advice before her mum moved to a new care home.

Jacky knew her mum’s money was running out so she got advice before her mum moved to a new care home.

Age at interview: 65
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

So the first thing when we decided it would be in her best interests to move down here, and I started with [name of town] Social Services and I sort of said, “So at the moment my mum’s self-funding but we can see that within a year she’s going to get to the situation when we will be asking for another financial assessment, because the capital.” In their terminology she will have become a capital depleter is the term which they use. So they sort of said, so I said, “So is it better to move her, try and move her while she’s still self-funding or to do it when she’s within Social Services’ funding?” And first of all; well I got two different stories from two different social workers in [name of North town] [laughs] first of all they told me, “Oh no, it’ll be better if you wait until, move her when she’s become under our system,” and all the rest of it. Then I rang [name of county South] Social Services here, and I couldn’t really get clarity; now luckily I then knew, and I only knew this, I think, because after my mum was diagnosed and I had to give up work I became an Alzheimer’s research volunteer and you get, you get such a lot of information from doing that about various systems and things and I knew that; I think actually I could have rung the Alzheimer’s Society, but I, for some reason I knew that Age UK had got specialist advisers that you could ring that would give you information and they were, they were wonderful. I could not get clarity from either end but what they told me was correct, they sort of said, “No, you must move her now, before her funds run out, because,” they say, “if you move her now there’s no set time period, but if you move her to [name of South county] she will become what’s termed a normal resident, when she becomes a capital depleter she will then apply for a financial assessment from [name of South county] County Council and it will proceed on that ground,” she said, “if you wait until she is becoming a capital depleter in [name of North town], once [name of North town] Council take over responsibility for her payments in residential care home, if you move her then she will remain [name of North town] responsibility.” [name of North town] are paying £460 a week, I think this is the cheapest room I found which I was happy with but it’s £750 a week, so you’re talking about a big difference.

People also told us they were aware of the risks of disrupting an older person’s routine in later years. Andrew and his sisters thought about moving their mum to a different care home but they worried whether this would be the right thing to do. On balance, those who made a move were pleased they had done so.

 

Andrew and his sisters feel their mum has a good relationship with the care workers.

Andrew and his sisters feel their mum has a good relationship with the care workers.

Age at interview: 58
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

So we’ve looked at; and there have been one or two other incidents, let’s say where we’ve felt the need to move, look at moving mum to somewhere cheaper, to somewhere equally nice but cheaper and, yeah, that’s created some difficulties and frictions within the family itself; some people who think it would be appropriate to move and some people who don’t.

She was in hospital for probably two weeks or so, maybe a bit longer than that and, yes, they wanted to put her into nursing care after that, she moved into a nursing care room but, to us, she didn’t seem, although she could no longer walk at all she didn’t seem, in other aspects, much different from how she’d been in residential; and the carers that she’d had in residential were very good and very fond of her and she’d made, made some real nice friendships with some of those women, largely women, in the residential section, the carers I mean; the other residents hardly any communication between any of them but the carers were very good with her and she’d built up a real nice, it was just real nice rapport. So we felt that that was the best environment for her. Yeah. And, yes, the, so when she went into nursing initially they did put up the fees significantly to the nursing care things and we had a bit of a, my sister, one of my sisters had a rant at them because of the hike and they did allow us some latitude on that before we convinced them that mum could go back in residential.

 

Sinclair feels that the new care home has a wonderful caring philosophy that works for everyone.

Sinclair feels that the new care home has a wonderful caring philosophy that works for everyone.

Age at interview: 92
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

What do you feel about the quality of care here and in particular with your wife’s needs?

I’m fortunate in that I can answer that to some degree because we already have experience of a care home. And in fact the care home that Audrey was in first of all they made the same charge as is made for my room here. That in fact is about the end of the comparison; this place is totally and completely different, completely different. It really is a care home, that’s surrounded by people who care and they show it and it’s in the philosophy of the place, you know, there’s not, it’s quite difficult to find a structure here but it’s also quite comforting because it’s, cos they sort of bumble along yeah. Well if they had a motto I think it would be, ‘Just Do It.’

Okay.

You know? That, that…

That works.

It works, it works, they just, they just do it, you know, maybe difficult but just do it, yeah. And I mean they’re thoughtful. But my wife gets upset she I’ve got no idea what’s happening, you know but one of the staff will come along and she gives her a cuddle first, you know that epitomises, you know.

donate
Previous Page
Next Page