be supported. Other employees also need support that goes well beyond induction and integrating them into an organisation. Operators should think about how employees are invested in the success of the home and should spend as much time team building and promoting shared values, which must be done face to face, as on training for care quality. If you can promote a positive culture that is person centred, open, inclusive and empowering, you are on the road to outstanding.

A new care home should be run as a project for at least 12 months post opening to provide discipline over decision making and to keep it at the top of the organisation’s agenda. Opening a new home is more difficult than people realise and if the rate of occupancy is overestimated, the pressure on the budget can be significant.

Good communication is essential to manage the expectations of both internal and external stakeholders. As part of the project plan, the board should decide what measures they want to be reported to them in order to assure themselves that the home is on track. Monitoring key performance indicators to ensure the success of the new home should remain a priority for some time

post opening and senior managers should beware of becoming diverted on to new projects too soon.


As every experienced operator knows, opening a new care home is challenging. Anecdotal evidence is backed up by data from the CQC, which shows that new homes have poorer ratings than established homes on first inspection. New homes can struggle with occupancy

Sara Livadeas

Sara Livadeas is the director at Social Care Works, which provides advice on organisational strategy and performance to retirement living operators, care providers and local authorities. She worked as a local authority commissioner for Oxfordshire County Council before becoming strategy director at the Orders of St John Care Trust, where she led on the care home development programme. Sara is a strong advocate for person centred working and campaigns on Twitter against the use of negative imagery

and recruitment. However, being realistic about timescales, managing expectations and taking a project management approach to opening a new home can help.

Reference 1. Kingston A, Wohland P, Wittenberg R et al. Is late-life dependency increasing or not? A comparison of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies (CFAS). The Lancet 2017; 390: p1676-84.


to portray older people called #nomorewrinklyhands. She is a trustee for the Disabilities Trust and chairs the Quality and Governance Committee.

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