• care home placement;
  • carer support;
  • community staff;
  • preparation

• The role of community staff in placing a relative in a care home is a relatively unexplored area of practice.

• Interviews with a variety of community staff in Sweden suggest that they play a significant role in helping family carers, particularly spouses, research the decision about the need for placement.

• This role can include recognition that placement is required (seeing the need), initiating and sustaining discussions about placement (sowing the seed and nurturing the seed) and legitimating the decision.

• However, once the decision has been made relatively little attention is given to the emotional consequences of the move and attention is focused largely on instrumental aspects.

• Despite showing sensitivity in the decision-making phase, community staff could do more to help carers deal with the guilt they experience and to initiate contact with the care home.