Reducing care home running costs

The cost of operating a care home continues to rise, which in turn is pushing up the cost of residential care – reportedly now over £30,000 per annum for a room in a care or nursing home. Hence, public and private healthcare providers are seeking high performance specialist equipment and services that reduce budget pressures without compromising care.

Residential care groups and privately owned care homes are becoming more susceptible to the risks of debt as operational margins are increasingly squeezed. The overheads associated with running a residential care establishment continue to rise especially since the recent sharp increase in the national living wage.

Carers are now entitled to higher rates of pay, which represents a substantial percentage of the overall running costs. Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, has warned that the introduction of the National Living Wage may see care homes shutting down across the country because of soaring running costs. Despite these pressures, care homes need to try and remain commercially viable and affordable to clients.

Over and above significant financial challenges, concerns over nursing shortages in care homes have also been raised by the Care Quality Commission in its last two State of Care reports. The latest figures from Skills for Care’s national minimum data set illustrate that vacancy rates for nurses in nursing homes are currently running at 8.4% while turnover rates are at 33%. Therefore, operational efficiency within many care homes is a major focus and dictates the critical need for equipment that maximizes care staff value. In terms of assistive bathing, according to Gainsborough, its range of power baths deliver tangible savings both in terms of time and cost. 

Gainsborough has recently launched a complete new range of assisted baths with powered height adjustment and bather transfer seats. These specialist solutions ensure safety, dignity and care  for residents while minimising moving and handling risks for carers. Effective spatial planning of new or refurbished accessible bathrooms also improves transfer efficiencies when moving residents in and out of a bathing situation.

Aspect from Gainsborough is a free design service that provides access to specialist bathroom designers who recommend the most ergonomic layout. This ensures optimum space for wheelchair and hoist manoeuvring along with maximum carer access around the bath.

In relation to operational cost savings, the new Gainsborough baths are delivering results for several leading care home groups through their innovative design, says the company. Economical, ultra-efficient assisted bathing is provided through reduced energy and water consumption. These new models, such as the Sentes and Talano, also offer reduced bathing cycle times through pioneering controls. These allow carers to attend to higher numbers of residents in less time, critical in high-traffic environments. However, care is not compromised, it is actually heightened through advanced features such as ergonomic transfer seats and TMV temperature controlled water. The new Gainsborough detachable transfer seat/chair on the flagship Gentona bath can negate the need for mobile and ceiling track hoists – adding to the cost savings for care home operators. Reliability has been enhanced and servicing requirements have been reduced so potential down-time has been lowered to an absolute minimum, again increasing the ‘life value’ of the products.