Do You Have to Give Notice to Leave a Care Home?

 In Funding Advice

Deciding to leave a care home can be a challenging decision, whether it’s due to changes in care needs, dissatisfaction with the service, or a desire to move closer to family. 

Understanding the process and knowing if you have to give notice is essential for a smooth transition. Here, we’ll walk you through the key points about notice periods, your rights, and what steps you should take.

Understanding Your Care Home Contract

When your loved one first moved into the care home, you signed a contract outlining the terms and conditions of their stay. This contract typically includes important details about:

  • Notice Periods: Most care home contracts require a notice period before leaving. This period can vary but is often between 28 and 60 days.
  • Termination Conditions: Specific conditions under which the contract can be terminated, either by the resident or the care home.
  • Financial Implications: Any fees or refunds associated with early termination of the contract.

It’s crucial to review this contract to understand the specific requirements and obligations. If you’re unsure about any terms, consult the care home manager or seek legal advice.

Why Giving Notice Is Important

Giving notice to leave a care home is important for several reasons:

  • Planning and Transition: It allows both the resident and the care home time to plan and make necessary arrangements, ensuring a smooth transition to the next stage of care.
  • Financial Settlement: Notice periods help manage financial aspects, such as settling any outstanding fees or arranging refunds if applicable.
  • Maintaining Good Relationships: Providing notice helps maintain a positive relationship with the care home staff, which can be beneficial for references or future interactions.

Typical Notice Periods

Standard Notice Periods

In the UK, the typical notice period required by care homes is between 28 and 60 days. This period can vary depending on the care home’s policies and the terms of your contract. Here are some common scenarios:

  • 28 Days: Many care homes ask for a 28-day notice period. This gives the care home time to fill the vacancy and allows for proper transition planning.
  • 60 Days: Some care homes may require a longer notice period of 60 days, especially if they provide specialised care services.

Emergency Situations

In certain situations, such as a sudden health decline requiring immediate hospitalisation or a significant issue with care quality, shorter notice periods might be negotiated. 

Always communicate openly with the care home management in such cases to find a mutually agreeable solution.

Steps to Give Notice

When you decide to leave a care home, follow these steps to ensure the process goes smoothly:

1. Review the Contract

Carefully read the care home contract to understand the required notice period and any specific conditions for termination. Look for details about financial obligations and the process for giving notice.

2. Write a Notice Letter

Draft a formal notice letter stating your intention to leave the care home. Include key details such as the resident’s name, room number, and the intended move-out date.

3. Meet with the Care Home Manager

Arrange a meeting with the care home manager to discuss your decision and hand over the notice letter. This meeting can help address any questions or concerns and ensure a clear understanding of the next steps.

4. Plan the Transition

Coordinate the move with your loved one’s new residence, whether it’s another care home, assisted living, or moving back home. Ensure that all medical records and personal belongings are transferred smoothly.

5. Settle Financial Matters

Discuss any outstanding fees, deposits, or refunds with the care home’s financial office. Ensure all financial matters are settled before the move-out date to avoid any future complications.


What if the Care Home Fails to Provide Adequate Care?

If the care home fails to provide the agreed level of care, you may have grounds to terminate the contract without adhering to the standard notice period. Document any incidents and discuss concerns with care home management. If necessary, seek legal advice or contact a relevant ombudsman for support.

Can the Care Home Terminate the Contract?

Yes, care homes can terminate contracts under certain conditions, such as non-payment of fees or if they can no longer meet the resident’s care needs. The care home should provide notice and support in finding alternative arrangements.

What Happens to the Deposit?

The handling of the deposit will depend on the terms outlined in the contract. Typically, if you have fulfilled the notice period and there are no outstanding fees or damages, you should receive the deposit back.

Your Care Journey

Giving notice to leave a care home is a standard procedure that ensures a smooth transition and proper settlement of all matters. 

By understanding your contract, communicating openly with the care home staff, and planning the transition carefully, you can make this process as seamless as possible for your loved one. 

If you have any concerns or need further assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to professional advisors or support organisations like Age UK.

At Lidder Care, we’re committed to supporting families through every step of their care journey. If you need guidance or have questions about transitioning to or from a care home, please contact us