NH vacancy or not?!


Registered User
Dec 10, 2006
Ilford, Essex
For some months now, I have known that my mum needs fulltime care, she is at risk in all areas, but until recently I did not want to face the fact. Anyway, it has become increasingly difficult for me, as her sole carer, to look after her. (She lives alone but only about 5 minutes away from me). I started to look at Nursing Homes and found one that I really liked and where I thought she would be "happy" although she has insisted there is nothing wrong with her and she would never go into a home. Social Services have finally become convinced that she does need 24 hour care but wanted me to tell my mum and also take her to visit the home that I was interested in. So,today, at the request of SW, I took my mum to visit the NH that I like, on the pretense of visiting someone I knew who worked there. She was quite happy to go and chatted away with the staff and patients, openly flirting with some of the men!!! One of the senior members of staff did an assessment while we were there and then found out that there was one vacancy with no waiting list. She told me to contact SW asap and say that I definitely wanted this place.

When I got home I immediately phoned the SW who told me that there was no place available at that particular NH and unless I wanted to wait for one to become available, which could be a very long time, I should choose another which did have vacancies.

I am so upset. I have got this far, have found a lovely, friendly home and now don't know whether there is a place for her or not. My partner seems to think, cynically(!) that it is to do with funding and that if we were paying privately, we would be able to have the bed. Does anyone know why NH and SW have different information.
Sharon x


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Dear Sharon,

Although today has been confusing/frustrating in some respects, you have also taken a big step forward in being able to see how your mum might react to a good nursing home setting. That always feels like a huge leap of faith - not knowing what to expect or how your loved one will react.

We just took my mother in law to see a residential home near to us today for the first time - so I know where you're coming from.

I suppose there are several possibilities that could explain what happened, but only the SW will know for sure. Since she sent you there in the first place (assuming she made the recommendation in the last day or so), you would have thought that there was a vacancy at that time. It's possible that the senior carer did not know all the facts when she said there was a vacancy.

These situations can change very quickly depending on things like status of people on the waiting list plus new admissions from hospital.

I would take the positive vibes that you got from today's experience and go and look at some more homes which do have vacancies. If you find one you really like and can confirm the place with the SW, then take your mum for a visit (she might get suspicious if you make too many visits to 'friends' in care homes).

Also, there's no reason why you can't ask to have your mum's name put on the waiting list of the home you saw today. Most people have names on multiple waiting lists and care homes realise that is part of the process.

Take care,



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
I'll tell you what would give me pause about this: any social worker who says that a place in a nursing home could be a very long time coming is not being as forthcoming as I would like. It may well be true, but sadly, a place could become available tomorrow - it's the nature of the beast. In your situation, my inclination would be to follow Sandy's advice: put your mother's name on the waiting list.

I do think, though, it's entirely possible that the member of staff didn't know the true state of affairs. However, if you like the home, definitely get on the waiting list, even if you need to take a temporary placement elsewhere.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
I agree with what the others have said.

We had to wait 4 months for a vacancy in Jan's home, having been told there was no way of knowing how long it would be.

The computation is scarily easy - 24 rooms, 20 residents, 4 respite. A resident room can only become available when a resident no longer needs it, and that happens when they pass on.

Generally in the home that I know best, rooms tend to become available several in a short space of time, because there always seem to be 2-3 people passing on in a short period. Not through anything contagious, they just seem to form a cluster.

When residents are stabilised in their condition, they may be there for a long time, so it is worth having other strings to your bow. Keep abreast of other options. If you have found one good one, there will be others.


Registered User
Dec 10, 2006
Ilford, Essex
Thanks for your replies. I phoned the NH yesterday and told them what SW had said. They insist that there is a vacancy and have told me to tell SW that I want that place. Have done so this morning and SW said she will put me on the list! I wonder how long I will have to wait for that invisible place!!
Sharon x


Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
I was abit confused there for a mo.I rad your post and read that a vacancy in the n/h was available.other posts seemed to think you were saying otherwise.ask the home to spaeak to the s/w about having a room avaliable for occupancy at this moment.infact insist!elainex

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