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Practical support

Trial periods in care homes

Residential care home stays don't necessarily have to be permanent. Temporary stays can be arranged for respite care (in which you take a break from caring for somebody else), or as a trial period before a permanent stay.

Temporary stays can give you flexibility when covering unexpected events, such as:

  • Palliative care (which manages or reduces pain) after a hospital stay or illness.
  • Support for newly disabled people and their carers.
  • Enabling someone to continue living independently if they live alone and suddenly require care.
  • Giving someone a chance to try potential future homes.

Arranging a temporary stay in a care home

Temporary stays in care homes can be difficult to arrange, depending on the availability of rooms. However, some care homes set aside rooms especially for temporary stays. Be sure to ask when contacting potential care homes.

Government rules on care homes state that all potential residents should be invited to a trial stay before they commit to a permanent residence. The local authority can help to arrange this if they're arranging residential care as part of the social care assessment or carer's assessment.

Suitability of the care home

Make sure that the care home staff will be able to look after you or the person you care for properly. Confirm that they can provide care that's appropriate to any specific condition. Visit first to get an idea of what the home is like. See Care homes for more information.

Day care in a care home

Day care in a care home may well offer enough respite care (for example, if the carer wants to stay in their job and perform care duties during non-working hours). For many carers, this provides a good balance and compromise.

Funding for care home places

You can make your own arrangements if you can afford it. If not, ask the local authority for an assessment, because it might pay some or all of your care costs on a means-tested basis.

Do not cancel your tenancy or sell your home until the final decision has been made. The value of your home shouldn't be included in the local authority’s means-testing until 12 weeks after you've confirmed that the care home placement will be permanent.


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Page last reviewed: 15/08/2012

Next review due: 15/08/2014

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