People cannot move into a home if they do not know that it is there

older people requires investment in marketing as selling to private payers demands different skills to negotiating with local authorities. Care homes operate in a micro market where most residents will have previously lived within a five mile radius. Even so, employees should be prepared to travel long distances, sometimes at short notice, to assess the needs of a relative of a local resident as they may be moving to be close to a son or daughter.

Key advice

l Write a business plan and stick to it

l Run the home as a project for at least 12 months after opening

l Recruit the right staff and give them the support they need to succeed

l Implement a properly resourced marketing plan

l Audit care quality early and regularly, taking appropriate remedial action promptly

l Manage expectations through clear and regular communication

Older people are choosing to move in to care homes later in life Residents and staff

The typical care home population is changing as older people are choosing to move into homes later in life due to the availability of domiciliary care in the community and presenting with more complex care needs. Although there is no published data on the average length of a stay, care home providers know that they are getting shorter. This means that attrition rates are such that some residents will have passed away before a new home is full.

The marketing department, along with all those associated with admitting new residents and ensuring they settle in well will have to work twice as hard to accommodate for this level of turnover. Training employees in end of life care and supporting them in how to deal with bereavement is also important.

Residents and staff need to understand why marketing the home is important as they will have to put up with a succession of visitors, guided tours and open events. This can put a lot of pressure on the home, as one regional manager said: “The world and his dog want to visit the scheme in the first few months. This is distracting for the home manager but also puts them under a lot of scrutiny. They can feel very isolated.” The registered manager often gets blamed when things go wrong but should


The full guide entitled ‘Opening a New Care Home’ is available from Sara Livadeas at

Care homes operate in a micro market where most residents will have previously lived within a five mile radius

40 or from Care England at • November 2018

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