Practical Tips helping your Care Home thrive in 2023 and beyond. Author Julie Hopkins of Buyacarehome & Ownacarehome
The care home sector since Quarter one of 2023 is picking up speed with care homes of varying asset character approaching the marketplace leaving Buyers of care homes turning increasingly to key characteristics of ‘fit for purpose,’ ‘sustainability,’ ‘resilient past and current performance,’ ‘strong management base,’ ‘good Regulator rating,’ ‘up to date financial and management information,’ ‘below benchmark of staff turnover.’
The cost of debt and inflation continue to be factors which effect debt serviceability with new entrants to the care home market as well as the growing care home portfolio demonstrating relevant experience or taking on an experienced consultant to see them through the initial handover period.
ESG is being increasingly talked about with emphasis on practical interiors, both inside and outside, supportive of a positive culture both for the staff and residents alongside strong governance.
Care home occupancy levels have generally increased across the UK post pandemic as the care sector remains a needs-based service for an era encompassing a rapidly ageing population. Lenders of commercial mortgages usually request evidence of current occupancy trends along with staffing rotas when assessing the viability of a finance application when purchasing a care home. This is all at the start of the Buyacarehome journey and now onto Ownacarehome.
Older converted care home properties, in the right location with staff accessible, remain popular particularly with additional land and planning opportunities for diversification of a care service. We are starting to see the growing mixed use retirement living and housing concept where green strategies in the build development are built into the design concept from the outset (reference the announcement of a new build located in Taunton, Somerset, for 68 beds). Read our Care home design blog here.
Alternative use for care homes of a certain size remains with buyer demand growing throughout this first quarter of 2023.
‘So let me take you on your care home acquisition journey’
Sourcing a care home to buy with a commercial mortgage
In his previous article, Mark Hickman Independent Care Home Broker of Chandler&Co narrated how to find your first or subsequent care home to purchase alongside the sourcing a commercial mortgage Read here.
So now you have purchased your care home what now?
It goes without saying that the first few months of acquiring your first or subsequent care home will be busy. Here are a few practical tips to get you started:
- As the new owner of your care home take time to get to know your staff and residents. Take your team on the journey with you and establish what they like about the business culture and what could be improved.
- Start an ideas generation group so that everyone feels listened to and confidence building on the new regime grows so that the handover period begins to settle down.
- Update your Business Plan and ensure it includes
- Mission and vision
- Enquiry to conversion occupancy target
- Staff training and development requirements and retention plan
- Consider alternative recruitment methods alongside traditional such as the employee referral, reward and recognition app Care Friends
- Financial projections including real time cash flow
- Debt servicing plan
- Prepare a Budget and review compared with actual financials monthly
- Review areas for cost reduction and consult with procurement experts
The Care Home Group talks about Cost Consultants Advantage Buying
“Our dedicated account manager now monitors our supplies and ensures that we will remain on the best supply suited to our needs”
- Discuss with your team a new marketing PR action plan
Siobhan Stirling of Sharp Minds Communications explains “some easy wins you can implement for your care home’s website to help it climb the search engine results.”
Consider expanding the profile of your care home.
Does your care home participate in community events? As the new owner hold a welcoming event to promote your care business, build relationships with potential future residents, their family and friends.
Having regular communications within and outside of the care home organisation is key, whether showcasing your care service through staff and resident awards (privacy laws permitting), in-house events and activities, keeping in touch through an online family portal or other means such as facebook, and providing a regularly updated news section on your business website adding value for all care seekers.
Consider creating a budget for good quality video content and photography.
Work with external communications, spreading positive PR about your care home and strengthening its brand.
Consider a downloadable digital care home brochure featuring your care home property and services. Most care seekers and their families visit a care home’s website as the first port of call.
- Regularly evaluate your care home’s service and operational performance and assess areas for improvement
- Assess where the business is in its ‘embracing technology journey.’ You will probably have already established what systems are being used as part of the due diligence in your care home acquisition journey.
- Get feedback from your team
- Is the current care planning system digital and easy to use?
- What policies and procedures systems are used to keep up to date?
- HR & Employment
Citation HR, Employment Law and Health & Safety experts have free guides and resources designed for care providers.
- Quality assurance
- Care planning
“Make quality and compliance a cultural value in your care facility” Helen Fuller Care 4 Quality
- Family connection
- Estate and equipment maintenance
- Fire safety
- Staff management and rota
- eMar and NHS Connect
- Accounts and administration
- Bookkeeping, financial and management accounting
- Inhouse or outsourced?
- Where is the care home on its AI journey to provide best outcomes for all involved in the service?
- Can you access real time data for the care home wherever you are?
- GDPR compliance
Has the care business started its net zero journey?
Is the care home a member of a care association?
“Networking and sharing information and best practices helps to drive innovation & improvement across services” Helen Fuller Care 4 Quality
Growing your care home portfolio
And now the next stage, organic and acquisition growth.
Your have an established care home operational business, maintaining good regulator ratings and can prove to stakeholders and financial institutions that you are a safe pair of hands.
Start the care home acquisition journey once more and revisit Mark Hickman’s ‘Practical Steps When Buying A Care Home’ in Chandler & Co’s Spring Newsletter.