Hey Jo ..
I remember placing my ex-charge for 'respite' which was the precursor for permanent placement.
It was WORSE than sending my kids to school on their first day. I had to enlist ACAT (the people who assessed her originally as 'ok to stay at home') to pick her up from day care and take her to the NH (which looked at acted like a expensive hotel .. absolutely stunning place) .. the report back was she was pleasant, liked her room (where I had already stashed her clothes, pictures, favourite bits and pieces) and was happily 'chatting' in her language to the other residents (who were somewhat horrified) .. ACAT were over the moon at how easily she settled.
Next morning I get a phone call from the NH .. could I come and pick her up please? She was not suitable for their place.
NOT SUITABLE?? What the ....? Apparently, come bed-time, ex-charge wasn't terribly happy about actually STAYING and all he11 broke loose (and I'm being polite & mild here LOL) .. from there she showed her incontinence, her violence .. she ended up being transferred that night into their secure area.
I put my foot down and said Nope, she had to stay .. they panicked and rang ACAT again, who spent the next day finding an alternative NH. The next day she was moved to a small secure facility still in the same town but on the other side of town. My husband and I were in the 'back room' out of sight, making sure she came in and to check her out from a distance, and see what happened. She was agitated, but instantly liked the place. We couldn't bear to watch her, and left (we being the big chickens).
Let me tell you, after her first week there (somewhat horrific), she turned into a doll. Calm, placid, happy to be there. When we finally got the courage to visit, she was great. She DID want to come home with us, but as we were ushered out the door, she happily waved to us in the window.
Patience is needed during the settling time, so do expect some behaviours, and DO ring, for your peace of mind as well but only once a week if you can. I remember it broke my heart to NOT ring ... but after a few days, I got the hang of relaxing.
Bravo .. and Merry Christmas!! Mum will be spoilt rotten btw ...