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Thinking of buying a care home in 2024? A few things you need to know

The start of a new year can often be a time for making changes and embracing new adventures. If you are interested in buying a care home in 2024, the prospect can be both exciting and scary at the same time. However, as with most big decisions, the more you find out in advance about taking the plunge, the more prepared you will be.

The residential care sector in the UK can be very lucrative, with high demand and excellent support available for would-be care home managers. There is an ongoing need for quality, compassionate care across the country for older and vulnerable people who need support with daily living and healthcare. Whether you are an experienced care home manager looking to invest in your own business, or are staring out on the care journey for the first time, read on for Care Vision’s top tips for buying a care home.

Know what you are looking for

It is vital to do plenty of research before you even start looking at what care homes are for sale. Make sure in particular that you know what to look for. There is a difference between nursing homes and care homes in general. Nursing homes cater for residents who have higher needs around medical support with nursing and specialist medical care available 24/7. Care homes are a more general term for facilities where people can live and receive a certain level of care and support with daily living and health care.

Then, there are specialist care and nursing homes, such as those for people living with dementia. Do you want to own a care home outright or invest in shares with other owners? Do you want a business that comes with long-established staff, or will you hire your own team? Have you got the right CQC qualifications to run the home yourself, or will you need to bring in a care manager?

How to start looking

Once you have worked out which type of care home you are interested in, it’s time to see what’s out there. Care homes aren’t always listed on general property sites. You will need to track down specialist agencies and sales representatives. Check out their location and the likely demographics of residents and their families.

Look at reviews from previous residents, as well as any accounting or financial information you can find to see how well they have been doing historically. Next, check out the size. How many beds are there. This will be vital information if you need to arrange financing or a mortgage. Not to mention if you need to hire a manager or new team of care staff as part of your new venture.

Check out the CQC scores

All care homes are given scores from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to rate how well they are run and to check the quality of the services they provide. Check out these scores for a really good indication of what you could be getting yourself into buying the business. Areas that are assessed and scored include safety, effectiveness, care and compassion, responsiveness to residents’ needs and leadership.

Watch out for sub-standard scores unless you are skilled in restoring ailing care homes’ performance. Look out for the most profitable business you can to help you start you new venture in the best possible position. You may not be able – or willing – to invest financially in a lot of structural changes or staff training etc., simply to bring a substandard care home up to scratch. On the other hand, this could be the exact challenge you are looking for, in which case lower scores could be what helps you make the final decision.

You’ve bought a care home. Now what?

Once you have signed on the dotted line, the real work starts. If you have written a business plan as part of applying for funding, this gives you a great place to start. Alternatively, you will need to write one now in order to help you get going. This should include first steps, infrastructure requirements, staff training or recruitment plans, marketing ideas and budget and financial forecasting. If you are working with a lender or business advisor, they may be able to offer you help and advice. Look for specialists to help you in the different areas, such as finance, staff recruitment, nursing care etc. Investing in Care Vision’s care management software is a great way to ensure that you stay on top of all areas and can keep track of the needs of residents, staff and suppliers.

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