Over recent years, improvements in health care and life style choices have undoubtedly contributed significantly to a steady increase in life expectancy across the population of the United Kingdom.
According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (July 2017) 18% (11.8 million) of our total population are currently aged 65 and older, with 2.4% of that figure (1.6 million) aged over 85. By 2041 this latter figure is projected to double to 3.2 million, by 2066 to treble to 5.1 million. By 2061 7% of the total population will be aged 85 and over and 26% over 65!
Against this backdrop there has never been a more pressing need for quality care homes across the UK. With this in mind, we have pulled together some top tips to aid you in running a successful care home:
1. Business Plan
Paramount to success in the care home industry is having the most stringent of business plans in place from the outset. Running a care home is not easy: it requires motivation, enthusiasm, financial acumen, resilience, compassion and the ability to bounce back. With the unpredictability of the British weather, heating costs can unexpectedly quadruple during the coldest months of the year, staff may leave at the drop of the hat, recruitment may be difficult and before you know it, you may have a crisis on your hands with vulnerable adults no longer receiving the care they need and pay for. A carefully formulated business plan will have factored in these risks alongside your mission and general objectives and will give you the very best start in your new enterprise.
2. Resident Focussed
Measured across the exacting standards of the Quality Care Commission, the most successful care homes are, without doubt, the ones which are person-centred and focus on “doing with” not “doing to” their residents. For residents to thrive, they need to live full and independent lives within their care setting. Give your residents an active voice in decision-making, let them choose the social activities they take part in, question not just theirs but also their families’ satisfaction with the service you provide through regular QA questionnaires. Have a visitors’ book with a ‘comments’ column and be sure to follow up comments both good and bad not just to keep your clients happy but also to enable you to continually review and improve on the service you offer.
3. Staff Training
You may be the most caring, compassionate, resident focussed manager/owner in the world, but you can’t do it all alone. To succeed, you need a dedicated workforce who share your values alongside you. Invest in your staff, offer quality training opportunities, support them as they study for new qualifications, offer progression routes and, above all, value them. In doing so, you will create an exceptional work-force who know your expectations, share your high standards and who will be committed to delivering the highly personalised care service you require.
4. Be Seen
This is so important in a care setting. Don’t lock yourself away in an office but get out in your care community and go above and beyond to show you care: know your residents, greet them by name with a smile, talk to them, sit with them, dine with them. Being “hands on” will not only reap dividends with your residents but this “leading by example” will impact significantly on your staff: they will value your involvement, feel better able to articulate concerns and be more accepting of changes you may implement because they see you working at grass roots level amongst them.
5. Information Sharing
In a care setting, a resident’s needs, health and personal circumstances can be constantly changing. In the best interests of your residents, it is paramount that these changes are shared at the earliest opportunity with all staff and that everyone is fully up-to-speed with the current situation. There is nothing more exasperating or potentially distressing for an elderly person than to have to repeat again and again what they have already stated or have someone wade in unintentionally and inappropriately at a particularly emotional time for the individual. Having systems in place that make this easy, efficient and swift will avert any such occurrences and ensure the right care is always in place.
Consult with both residents and staff as to what activities they would like to see on offer. Yes, run a regular programme of events for residents to tap into but be open to running one-off events and activities to add a bit of extra spice to care home life.
In terms of dining, consider flexible meal times, avoid a set menu pattern and incorporate ideas and requests from residents into menus for the week. Eating may then become an interesting and more pleasurable activity, opening different conversations amongst residents and encouraging increased sociability.
7. Health, Safety and Hygiene
Ensure yours is a clean and welcoming environment and that the most exacting standards are adhered to by all staff. First impressions are lasting impressions so clear clutter, keep surfaces clean, open windows to air the premises and clear stale smells and greet whoever steps through your door with a ready welcome and a smile. Whatever you do, it will be noted so make it remarkable from the outset!
Learn More with CareDocs
Running a care home is not an easy task and certainly not a venture to be gone into lightly. Looking after others is a huge responsibility at the best of times but even more so with people entering the later stages of their lives and their attendant health conditions and vulnerabilities. Paramount to the success of your care home is the need for compassion and a vision for a first class, highly personalised, wrap-round service for all your residents: not just lodgings, food and care.
At CareDocs, we can help you achieve your objectives, simplifying tasks and ensuring care plans are kept fully up-to-date and instantly accessible with the greatest of ease from any mobile device. This frees up staff from laborious form filling and puts them right back on the front line offering first class care to your residents.
For an informal discussion on your needs and how we can help, get in touch with us today.