Over recent years, improvements in health care and life style choices have 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, and by 2066 increase 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 a solid business plan in place from the outset. Running a care home is not easy – it requires motivation, enthusiasm, finance awareness, 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 can leave at the drop of the hat, recruitment may be difficult, there could be an infectious outbreak to deal with, and before you know it, you may find yourself in a crisis 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.
Measured across the exacting standards of the Quality Care Commission, the most successful care homes are those which are person-centred and focus on “doing with” and not “doing to” their residents. For residents to thrive, they need to live full and independent lives within their care setting. For example, give your residents an active voice in decision-making by letting them choose the social activities they take part in. One way you can do this is by asking for feedback from the residents and their families’ through regular Q&A questionnaires. Why not also provide a visitors’ book with a ‘comments’ section? You can use it as a tool to follow up on comments both good and bad, to keep your clients happy and 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-focused 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. If you invest in your staff by offering quality training opportunities, supporting them as they study for new qualifications and providing progression routes, they are much more likely to invest in you and your business. In doing so, you will create an exceptional team 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
It’s important to lead by example. Go out into your care community and learn as much as possible. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Know your residents, greet them by name and with a smile, talk to them, sit with them, dine with them. Being “hands on” will not only benefit them but will improve morale across the entire home. Staff will value your involvement, feel better able to communicate concerns and be more accepting of changes you may implement because they see you working the frontline 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’s crucial that these changes are shared at the earliest opportunity with all staff and that everyone is fully up-to-speed with the current situation. Having a resident repeat what they have already stated or having someone not realise when it is a particularly emotional time for an individual can be frustrating and distressing. Having systems in place like CareDocs which make this easy, efficient and swift will minimise the risk of 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. Hosting events where some people will feel left out or won’t be able to participate can negatively impact mental and physical health. Offering activities which people don’t enjoy won’t provide any self-reward or fulfilment and can lead to unhappy residents. Run a regular programme of events for residents to tap into but be open to hosting 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. Eating should be an interesting, social and pleasurable activity, a place where new relationships can form and conversations can flow.
7. Health, Safety and Hygiene
Ensure your setting is clean and welcoming, adhering to high standards for staff, residents and visitors. First impressions are lasting impressions so be free of clutter, keep surfaces tidy and disinfected and open windows to allow airflow, so whoever steps through your door is met with a professional and trusting care environment. Any other items of character you want to display, like plants and decor will add to its friendliness and desirability, making your home a more attractive place to work or live.
Learn More with CareDocs
Running a care home is not an easy task and certainly not a venture to take 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. Compassion and a vision is essential for a top quality, highly personalised care service for all your residents: not just lodgings, food and care.
At CareDocs, we can help you achieve your objectives by 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 frontline 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.