Ipsos MORI was commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to undertake a qualitative research study with residents and their representatives (i.e. family and friends), as well as social workers, exploring how people navigate the care home sector. The research explored experiences of choosing a care home including the process of finding a home, navigating the system for funding, experiences of paying for a care home and making complaints. The project was part of a wider market study the CMA is carrying out into care homes for the elderly, reviewing how well the market works, and whether people are treated fairly.
From the research, the key themes that emerged were:
- the limited time residents and their representatives had to make decisions about which care home to choose;
- the limited engagement with the details of the ‘system’;
- the perceived lack of information and support when choosing a care home;
- the perception that options were limited – both the availability of spaces generally and availability of a space in the right home;
- the powerlessness people felt to control the situation.
A qualitative research approach was used, comprising in-depth interviews in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland with representatives of people living in care homes, residents of care homes, and social workers. Fieldwork took place from March to May 2017. In total, 102 representatives (family members or friends of a resident), 16 residents (someone living in a care home), and five social workers were interviewed.