The Big Interview - Julie Hopkins of Ownacarehome interviews Debbie Harris, Founder of Autumna

The Big Interview 

Julie Hopkins of Ownacarehome interviews Debbie Harris, Founder of Autumna

“The UK’s largest & most detailed directory of elderly care and retirement living options”

“Supporting care providers and families funding their own elderly care”

With increasing focus on hospital discharges and the interaction of social care with primary care services Ownacarehome (OACH) looks at how Autumna is increasing its reach to people searching for care homes and community care settings.  In this blog we look at the care home setting.

OACH: In addition to providing expert elderly care advice via your 24/7 helplines how have you adapted Autumna’s care home website listing process?

Debbie Harris (Autumna): the evolving website listings provide an easy search process for over 25,000 providers in the UK which is in addition to our team’s impartial advice about a person’s elderly care and later life living options.

The search criteria for a care home for the private payer provides a search online by location for a care home, which precedes filtering the search by services and facilities which are important to the person and their families or friends searching for their care.

Additional support to find the care that a person needs is also available through our helpline which is always available throughout the week.

OACH: How is Autumna evolving to enhance the search criteria for people searching for their care home match?

Debbie Harris (Autumna): Having established the company in 2018 we are evolving the care home search directory with an innovative mission and action plan to enhance the experience of people visiting our website, seeking a quality care home service either for themselves or a relative or friend.

A visitor to Autumna’s website can easily use the search engine function ‘to find details of every elder care provider in the UK,’ and they can access Elderly Care Advice, Legal Advice and Care Funding Advice.

All care homes in the UK have a FREE standard listing on the website and for a PREMIUM listing Autumna’s website has evolved to enhance a care home’s ‘shop window.’  The free listing has over 50 search criteria with the premium listing having up to 300 searchable fields.

Autumna’s effectively acts as an additional website to the provider’s to increase the market outreach to care seekers funding their own care.

OACH: What are the differentiators for a premium listing on Autumna’s care home search website?

Debbie Harris (Autumna): The search criteria rates the care home service by “how open” your care home’s virtual impact is to the website visitor and can include the following:

Photos, videos and virtual tours in order to showcase the personality of the care home service.  The more a care provider ‘shows’ on the website listing they are increasingly likely to obtain a visitor conversion to their service, since most care seekers now obtain an initial short list of care homes to look into further online.  This may then be reduced to a smaller section of care homes to physically visit. 

When seeking a care home time is of the essence and it is vital that a virtual visitor to the website is left with a positive care experience.

Autumna’s rating service criteria has evolved and includes the following for a PREMIUM listing:

  • S.A.F.E Infection Control Initiative allows families to search for care providers who can evidence their infection prevention and control facilities.  Autumna has devised questions that we would all ask when seeking a care home and post pandemic safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.  So Autumna goes above and beyond the Government’s guidelines on infection control, including questions around ‘air filtration & purification systems, sterilisation and disinfection devices’ to name a few of the areas Autumna looks into.
  • Digital Care Plans
  • CHOICE Dining Initiative evidences a care home provider’s commitment to high quality food and dining experience.  The CHOICE Dining badge comes with an accreditation to demonstrate to the care seeker the provider’s high standards and person-centred care with the ability to benchmark with other care homes.

OACH: What are Autumna’s latest initiatives for the care home provider?

Debbie Harris (Autumna): We have recently launched the WiFi SPARK and D.A.D partnership “with the aim to support the discharge crisis in the NHS.”

Hence the Dashboard for Accelerated Discharge (D.A.D) was born.  D.A.D is the hospital discharge directory providing a ‘single point of contact to every available care provider in the UK,’ and is powered by WiFi SPARK with the app library focussed ‘on improving the patient experience.’

D.A.D. “is giving care providers an avenue to a wider audience and additional tools and resources to showcase their services online.”  It offers support for people seeking discharge and step down care after leaving hospital and returning to their own home or a care home.

D.A.D. “is available on the new SPARK Horizon bedside unit.”

OACH: Earlier this year Autumna launched a new live rating service for care homes after partnering with Person Centred Software.  How does it work in practice?

Debbie Harris (Autumna): By installing Digital Reception software care home providers with a PREMIUM listing can update their profile on Autumna in real time with live reviews allowing care homes with good ratings to attract the self-funding care home seekers.


For more information and to find out more about how to claim your care home’s PREMIUM profile visit the Autumna on Buyacarehome or Ownacarehome or call 01892 33 53 30.

Debbie Harris

Founder of Autumna