Social services help or hinderance?

Simon B

Registered User
Feb 27, 2007

Has anyone else out there disagreed with social services assessment of their loved one? They are insisting my Dad, who is 80, needs a nursing home because he wanders sometimes.

Maybe I am in denial but he is nowhere near as advanced as the people in the nursing homes we have visited. He has seen a residential care home near to me that he really likes but social services are adamant.

Has anyone else been in this situation?



Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Simon,
Surely because a person wanders, doesn`t mean s/ he needs nursing.

Is it perhaps because Nursing Homes offer more secure accommodation, that one has been reccommended for your Father, whereas Residential Care Homes allow more freedom of movement, both within the home and outside.

Perhaps it would help if you asked the powers that be to clarify the caterogization.

Love Sylvia x

Simon B

Registered User
Feb 27, 2007
Hi thanks for the reply.

I have discussed (argued) with social services on several occaisions.

They seem to think he is far worse than he is. Over a year ago they said he needed to go into a home, but when I took him to see it he was horrified and said he is quite happy to stay at home, with carers coming in.

I understand that nursing homes are more secure but I fear he will go downhill rapidly once he is in one, as opposed to a reisdential home. On paper he meets the criteria of a nursing home becuase he wanders but other than that he is not that bad. It seems he is being condemed by just one behaviour.



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi Simon, and welcome to TP

It's funny (as in peculiar), I was told almost the exact opposite: nursing homes were for people who weren't mobile, residential was for people who were. I don't believe, in fact, that mobility (or lack thereof) is the deciding factor for whether someone needs nursing care. However, I suspect that Sylvia is correct: it does sound as if what your father needs is a unit that is more secure than most residential homes. Wandering is one thing that scares the life out of residential home operators and I suppose one can't blame them.

Is your father self-funded or not? It shouldn't make a difference, but I'm afraid it does. If the former, you can essentially place him wherever he feels most comfortable, provided the home operator agrees. The same should be true in the latter case, but it doesn't always work out that way, particularly if your area doesn't have so many options. Not that you have to stay "in area".

It does sound as if your father needs a secure EMI (elderly mentally infirm) unit, and they often are attached to nursing homes, but not necessarily.

P.S. Dorset? I was brought up in Dorset (just outside Shaftesbury)
Nada said:
I'm sure there are many members who have disagreed with various professionals.
That's probably the understatement of the week, Nada!


Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
Hi Simon,

On your questions of nursing homes being more secure.

That is not my experience. Nursing homes are generally for people that have specific nursing needs that many residential homes do not cater for. People with dementia may not need nursing care and more often than not EMI Registered residential homes can cater very well for dementia needs. Many home specialise in dementia care and will be able to provide more professional help for your father.

What makes thinks confusing is not just the terminology used but the overlap of the function of many homes.

I'd pin the social worker down and find out EXACTLY what your father needs - in their opinion of course. Their assesment not only helps you find the right home, but may also determine the recommending funding if your father is not self-funded. If the social worker thinks your father needs to be in a nursing home, then ask him or her how this will be funded.

My guess (and this is just from my experience) is that your father may need something more secure for his own safety, particulary if he tends to wander. By secure, this just means that all the access points have some sort of security device so the residents cannot just walk off on their own. It is not intended to be like a prison or insititution. It makes me feel a lot happier that dad cannot just wonder out on the road without supervision. Saying that, I've been surprised how many homes allow free access when looking after people with dementia.

If it is any help, I always refer to 'secure EMI' when looking for a home for dad. EMI just stands for Elderly Mentally Infirm.

Hope that helps


Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi Simon,

I would agree with what has been said already and it may just be a lack of using the right terminology.

Have you had a look at the web site of the Commission for Social Care Inspection? They are responsible for inspecting all care homes in England. If you take a look at their search facility for care homes:

You will notice that the first box refers to the type of service: care home or care home with nursing. The second section relates to the type of care required - and dementia is one of the items on the list.

My understanding is that someone with a diagnosis of dementia, especially if they are prone to behaviours such as wandering, needs to be in a home that is licensed to care for people with dementia - i.e. one having EMI beds. Some homes have all EMI beds and some have just a few.

It may be hard to see some residents of an EMI home who seem to be more impaired (at least on the day/time you visited) than your father. On the positive side, the home should be more geared-up to deal with his needs, especially in the long-term. The problem with a residential home with no dementia provsion, is that eventually your father would have to be moved with all the upset that that entails.

Take care,