Aim: To understand the perceived factors that shape decision-making around the time of residential care admission in older people.
Method: Two qualitative methods (telephone interviews at intervals post discharge from geriatric inpatient care and face-to-face interviews with older people and their family carers) were used as part of a multiphase mixed methods study of a cohort of 144 older people discharged from medical wards in a subacute assessment, treatment and rehabilitation facility.
Results: Key topics and themes were derived from interviews: the role of the informal carer and other community supports, attitudes to decision-making and loneliness were key aspects of social context. Physical health, the experience of repeated hospital admissions and health professionals' attitudes to repeated admissions were also seen as important.
Conclusions: Social context as an essential component of older people's decisions to enter aged residential care is highlighted in this qualitative study.