A woman taking care of an elderly woman. Read our insights on lessons for care homes from COVID-19

A sector transformed

Lessons for care homes from Covid-19

Steve Fergus, Head of Healthcare, Barclays Corporate Banking, shares his insights into the changing face of the care home sector. Although the pandemic is still with us, the majority of care homes have changed for the better from a connectivity, agility and knowledge perspective. Hear from an array of sector specialists as they discuss a number of innovations in our latest report.

A valued sector

The care home sector is an extraordinarily robust and adaptable one. The pandemic has been the ultimate stress-test for those qualities, as homes took a battering on multiple fronts. The pandemic is far from over, and the recovery – on a personal and a business level – will take time. But the very fact that, unlike many other sectors, care homes continued to provide their vital services throughout this dark time is an indicator of how robust they are.

Care staff and operators will undoubtedly need to draw further on that resilience in the challenging months to come. However, the reserves of creativity they have already shown will stand them in good stead.

Steve Fergus,

Head of Healthcare, Barclays Corporate

Drawing on insight from operators and industry experts, we suggest how care homes can build on their pandemic response to shape a more diverse and viable sector. The pressures that prefigured the pandemic have not vanished, but some businesses now stand in better shape to handle them. This report seeks to provide some inspiration as operators build on these changes to serve their communities in the years ahead. Sincere thanks to our contributors from Barclays Digital Eagles, Carterwood, Hallmark Care Homes, Knight Frank and Runwood Homes.

The biggest shift in the care home sector’s technology use has been in the wholesale adoption of video meeting platforms, which soared by 65% in the first 12 months of the pandemic.

Nine in 10 social care staff don’t believe workers get the recognition they deserve, according to the IHSCM survey. Significantly, the wider public is of the same mind in this respect: 86% of all respondents agreed.

In 2021, Barclays Digital Eagles digital adoption programme (working closely with the government’s NHSX digital transformation programme), aims to help 5,000 care homes master skills that range far beyond the use of email and social media for residents.

People who live and work in our homes have as much say in terms of what we do as an organisation as any of the board members. That has always been key to our success in the sector.

Gavin O’Hare-Connolly

Chief Operating officer, Runwood Homes

Strategies for success

Care home operators can future-proof their business by investing in strategies for a new future

  • Make lasting connections

    Most homes have improved virtual communication for their residents. Some have also widened the platforms in use so that photographs and videos can be shared among widely dispersed relatives. Consider regular links to strengthen communications between managers and families.

  • Streamline bureaucracy

    Introducing digital care planning technology can significantly release staff time. It has also been shown to improve job satisfaction and delivery of person-centred care. Using the Barclays Digital Wings platform, staff can gain skills even if they only have a few minutes to spare at a time.

  • Stimulate new leads

    Use online platforms for marketing too – virtual tours and personalised messages from home managers on your website can help potential residents gain a flavour of your culture.

  • Strengthen retention

    Consider ways to reward staff with thank-you tokens. Share stories of great work with the home community, and through local media if you can.

  • Think radically

    Most home layouts now allow for reconfiguration – how will this work in the long term? Besides one-way systems and entrances, consider more significant changes such as reducing the size of resident communities.

  • Explore growth options

    Consider alternative funding models alongside debt funding as tools to help expand outdoor areas, acquire new premises, or diversify into different types of living provision.

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Covid-19 Hub

Discover the latest information related to Covid-19 (coronavirus), including CBIL details, from Barclays Corporate Banking.


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