When it comes to choosing a care home for a loved one, people want assurance they’ll only be receiving the very best treatment. Unfortunately, the impact of the pandemic has undermined the public’s perception of the care sector, leaving many family members reluctant to consider long-term care for their elderly relatives who need it most. This makes it important that your care home doesn’t just make an impression on potential residents – but their families too! So, what can you do to rebuild confidence in your care home?
Families as key decision makers
Whilst potential residents are likely going to have the final say when deciding whether or not to choose your care home to live in, their families have increasingly had a pivotal role in that decision. In recent years, sons and daughters have been much more involved in caring for their parents, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that 2 million adults were receiving informal care in 2016, valued at £59.5 billion per year. With the most common age groups to be caring for an elderly relative being 60 to 69 (23.9%), 50 to 59 (22.3%) and 70 to 79 (20.1%), family members who are no longer able to informally care for their loved ones are going to play a more active role in choosing a care home facility that gives their parents the same dedicated support they had received at home.
Additionally, if a resident has an impairment, such as dementia and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), their family may already have full responsibility of their care treatment. 60% of care home residents are currently living with dementia, so it’s inevitable that relatives will play a more active role in determining where their loved one should reside, as the resident themselves might be less capable of making the decision.
Confidence as the key to your home’s commercial success
At the heart of your care home’s commercial success is always going to be confidence amongst residents and their families that the care management team are promoting the best possible standard of care. Sadly, as a result of the devastating stories during the start of the pandemic, the public’s confidence in the care sector has been severely damaged, causing occupancy rates to fall by 10% during the coronavirus crisis. The result of this is that many care homes are finding it a challenge to generate enough income to make their care home commercially viable, with a quarter of care home directors currently worried about financial sustainability. Addressing any potential confidence issues that people might have, is a pivotal step in improving the financial position of your care home.
How to build confidence with families
A key way to rebuild confidence in your care home is to focus on simple investments that present your home in a more positive light. This could be as simple as ensuring your reception area looks warm and welcoming, that it is fresh and well looked after. Regardless of how good the care you offer is, first impressions count: if a potential resident’s family visits your care home and they’re met with tired surroundings, it may reinforce any negative perceptions they might hold about care homes in general.
Compliance is also very important in establishing confidence with family members. As key decision makers, they are likely going to want to see recent CQC reports on your home, to help inform their decision. It’s also crucial to establish good governance throughout your home in other areas, ensuring you have the necessary systems, procedures and processes for your care home to function smoothly, giving residents the care they deserve.
Other ways to establish confidence with decision makers
Here are some additional measures that can help improve confidence in your care home:
- PR: Putting a focus on your public relations is a great way to boost confidence in your home. If you’ve just celebrated a special anniversary, or a resident has an extraordinary story to tell, why not talk about it? Local media outlets love these kinds of stories and it’s great for exposure.
- Marketing: When utilised effectively, social media can be a great way of establishing a dialogue with potential residents and their family members. In posting the good work that you’re doing at your care home, family members will have confidence that their loved one will be in good hands.
- Testimonials: It’s always a good idea to have testimonials from both residents and their families that discuss the excellent care you’re providing.
- Online reviews: Family members are increasingly looking at online reviews and social media sites to inform their overall impression of your care home. Why not ask some family members of your current residents to leave you a quick review?
Working with experts in driving confidence
There are lots of small steps you can take within your care home to try and improve confidence amongst family members; but if confidence in your home has been severely damaged as a result of the pandemic, or a previous incident, working with an expert can help to promote a new, positive image. As expert care consultants, we’ve helped many care homes and care home groups transform their reputation by developing a personalised plan that suits their needs and targets – building confidence, improving compliance and commercials.