A person with cancer and dementia may be able to stay at home with help and support. Or they can be cared for in a hospice or nursing home.
Where they will be cared for depends on:
- what they want
- what help they have from family and friends
- what services are available in the area they live in
- their medical condition.
Most people prefer to stay at home, as long as they know they will have good-quality care. Even if they choose not to be cared for at home, they can still be surrounded by people and things that are important to them.
Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline can help carers find out what respite and long-term care options are available. Call them on 0800 888 6678 for more information.
If someone decides to be looked after at home, they can still have some types of short-term care. For example, they may be able to go to a day centre during the day if their carer has to work.
Hospices and residential homes may also offer short stays for a few days or weeks. This might be to have specialised care that helps control symptoms or to give carers a break.
Their GP, district nurse or specialist palliative nurse may be able to arrange for them to go into care for a short while. This might be in a:
- residential home
- care home with nursing (nursing home).
Residential and nursing homes offer short-term or long-term accommodation and care. Residential care homes or care homes with nursing provide different levels of care. A social worker or member of the healthcare team can explain the difference.
They can give you more information about local care homes and the type of care provided. They may also help you think about how to pay for care home arrangements and how to arrange this type of care. Organising care homes can take some time.
Lists of local care homes are available from your local social services department. The standard of care provided by care homes and care agencies is monitored across the UK by care regulators. These include:
- The Care Inspectorate Scotland
- The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
- The Care Quality Commission (CQC)
- The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.
Before choosing a care home or agency, you may want to check its standard of care with one of these organisations. You can also ask your healthcare worker or social worker to give you this information.
If someone becomes more unwell, they may want to be looked after in a hospice or in a palliative care unit of the local hospital.
Their GP, district nurse, specialist palliative care nurse or social worker may suggest a short stay in a hospice or hospital. This may be because they have symptoms that would be easier to control with specialist care. They may be given treatments until symptoms improve and then go back home.
Hospices are generally smaller and quieter than hospitals and work at a much gentler pace. Many have sitting rooms and space for family to stay overnight.
Sometimes there is a waiting list to go into a hospice, but this is usually short. If you are not sure about the idea of hospice care, you can ask to visit before making a decision.