When is the right time to move a relative in care to another home?


This is a hard question to answer, but the simple answer is when the result will be better than leaving them where they are.


If someone is cognitively impaired, then there has been research done that it is detrimental to move someone from one care home to another.  The statistics show that if the whole home is moved into a different building, then the outcome is fine, but that rarely happens and what most people have to face is moving a relative from one care home to another.


The statistics show that moving one person with a cognitive impairment from one home to another is likely to have a detrimental effect on that person and to the point that this detrimental effect is fatal.  I’ve had plenty of clients that have moved care homes and survived a small number of weeks or days in the new care home.  I’ve had one client who only lasted a few hours and died in the afternoon of a move.


Because of the potential effect, the positive reasons to move someone need to be compelling.  Individuals are moved to be closer to family, for a nicer home, a cheaper home etc,.  Whatever the reason it must outweigh the risk and for example to have family visit regularly and provide input and support to that person can improve their life significantly.


The reason that it is always right to move is when the current home cannot meet that persons needs.  But even that issue is not that simple.  If someone has a poor prognosis, if they move, they are very likely to pass away, so the question needs to be raised, could the current home keep them until the end of their life, if they had some extra input.  Would some support by the District Nursing Team or someone input allow the existing home to meet their needs?  That way they would be able to live their last days and weeks surrounded by people who are familiar with them.


On occasions, it can happen that the carers take a dislike to a resident.  Hopefully they shouldn’t, but carers are people and people are different and sometimes don’t get on.  There can be instances where a resident is very aggressive and the carers know that if they go near that person they will be bitten or kicked.  Whilst the carers might appreciate that this is a side effect of the condition of dementia, it is not nice being kicked, so they take a dislike.  I have on rare occasions come across this and to date, I have universally considered it in the best interests of the resident to move them.  They need to be in a place where they are treated with compassion for their condition, but I have enormous empathy for the carers who got fed up with being kicked.