‘Opening a New Care Home’


A book review from Des Kelly OBE

Ironic, isn’t it, that there are more
publications on closing care homes than on opening them! Given the considerable
investment that a new care home represents (at least £3m and often much more) this
is a significant gap – one which this new guide ‘Opening a New Care Home’ by
Sara Livadeas is designed to plug.


Sara’s 25 years of experience,
including working with a major care provider with an extensive development
programme building and managing care homes across several different local
authority areas, is very evident in this practical and well-informed guide. It
is structured around the following themes:

  1. Business
  2. Managing
    the home as a project for at least 12 months post opening
  3. Recruiting
    the right staff and supporting them
  4. Implementing
    a properly resourced marketing plan
  5. Auditing
    care quality early and regularly, taking appropriate remedial action promptly
  6. Managing
    expectations through a clear and regular communication.

Makes it sound so simple, doesn’t

There is so much useful
information in just 35 pages! Each one of the steps is clearly explained and is
rich in authoritative guidance such as appointing the Registered Manager 6
months before the care home is due to be opened and operational. It’s an
obvious point that recruiting a competent manager is a key component of
establishing a ‘well-led’ service. Considerable business skills are required in
the commissioning of a new care home, in addition to professional and
relationship-building skills. I recognise the comment:

“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 sections on recruitment of
staff, stakeholder involvement, the marketing plan, creating a positive culture
are all well observed and clearly explained. I guess this guide is intended for
care operators with little experience of developing, opening or operating a new
care home and there is no doubt that organisations and their senior managers
will be greatly assisted by the sound professional structure it represents.
However, I am convinced that seasoned operators, including those with some
experience of developing such a new service, will also benefit from the review
format offered by the thorough and systematic approach of this guide.

The appendices include a helpful
detailed ‘outline action plan’, management competencies for the Registered
Manager and a reminder of CQC’s key lines of enquiry for residential care – all
essential stuff.

In my view, it should be compulsory reading for
every manager, operational manager/director, business development director, MD/CEO
and the like, who has the good fortune to be opening a new care home. And what
an exciting opportunity this is! I certainly wouldn’t want to understate or to
underestimate the complexities associated with the task. Nevertheless, I have
no doubt that success will be much more likely from following the advice that
is set out in this well-written guide.

For a copy of Sara’s guide to Successfully Opening A New Care Home email: s.livadeas@socialcareworks.org.uk

A reblog review of a useful document

“New homes go through a challenging time in the first two years…..poor ratings, high turnover of staff, low occupancy and failure to meet expectations of stakeholders. Anecdotally 50% of new home managers leave in the first year…”

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