The business of care: Caring for those who care

2020 has been a year that nobody could have predicted, but we are pleased to see the resilience of the care sector from a profitability perspective as evidenced by many recent reports. This is despite lower occupancy levels and increased costs of PPE and supporting staff who are self-isolating due to Covid-19.

It is reported that care home operators spent as much as 61.3% of income on staffing alone in the second quarter of this year. (Statistic from research carried out by Knight Frank, 2020 UK Care Home Trading Performance Review.

Improved testing, a potential vaccine roll-out in 2021, and facilitating safe family visits are positive boosts to the sector which has had to struggle with the balance of keeping residents safe whilst enabling families to interact with their loved ones.

The compassion, skills and dedication of care staff in looking after their residents are to be applauded. However, we also need to recognise the impact of this pandemic on staff both mentally and physically.

From our conversations with care operators, we feel senior management are recognising this – providing up-to-date training, mentoring, support and guidance – giving staff the confidence to continue to provide a safe environment for residents, their families and for themselves.

Although occupancy levels have fallen below the 80 percent level (Financial Times, November 9th, 2020), the focus remains on quality and investment in specialist care homes. This is to cope with increases in life expectancy and different demands within a safe setting which allows that much needed human interaction with family members. We believe this is where the increased spend on specialist staff, ongoing training and mentoring will be crucial in making this sector a rewarding career choice and the care industry a profitable place to be.

As we head into 2021 and potentially see a return to some form of economic normality, we would like to hear how your care business recognises and supports your staff and the vital lessons you’ve learned?

Richard Baker is Head of our CFO Practice at Carter Schwartz. With 30 years in recruitment, coupled with being a qualified accountant, Richard has been working with a number of our care operator clients.