Internationally, it is recognised that the transition to a care home
environment can be an emotional and stressful occasion for older people
and their families. There is a paucity of research that takes into
consideration the initial phase of the relocation process, incorporating
individuals’ experiences of the move.
To explore individuals’
experiences of moving into a care home. This paper has a specific focus
on the pre-placement (7 days) and immediate post-placement (within 3 days)
period of the move to the care home.
A grounded theory method
was used to conduct semi-structured interviews with 23 participants.
Data analysis revealed five distinct categories that captured
the experience of the pre-placement and immediate post-placement period.
These were as follows: (a) inevitability of the move: “I had to come
here,” (b) making the move: “Abrupt Departures,” © decision-making and
exercising choice: “What can I do, I have no choice,” (d) maintaining
identity: “Holding on to self” and (e) maintaining connections: “I like
my family to be near.” Together, these five categories formed the basis
of the concept “You’re at their Mercy” which encapsulates the perceived
transition experience of the older people within the study. Participants
felt that the move was out of their control and that they were “at the
mercy” of others who made decisions about their long-term care.
Moving to a care home represents a uniquely significant
relocation experience for the individual. Key factors influencing the
move were the individuals’ perceived lack of autonomy in the pre- and
post-relocating period of moving to a care home. Nurses have a key role
to play in working with older people to influence policy and practice
around decision-making, planning and moving to a care home with greater
emphasis on autonomy and choice so that older people do not feel “at the
mercy” of others as they navigate such a major transition. Implications
for practice: There is a need to standardise approaches and develop
person-centred interventions to support older people considering
relocation to a care home and nurses have a key role to play in making