Coronavirus is here to stay.
So far, 29 million people have caught it. Any chance we had to contain it has passed and the scientific consensus is that this virus is too widespread and too easily transmissible. It is never going away.
In August, the first case of a person being reinfected with Covid-19 was reported and at the time of writing this post, cases are increasing rapidly and restrictions to our movements are being re-introduced.
Even when we hopefully have a working vaccine by the end of next year, breakouts will occur. Eventually, we will have to learn to live with it as we do with the flu virus.
Keeping Coronavirus out of your care home is proving to be a challenging exercise and right now, cases are increasing once more. One of the biggest challenges is the actual cost of trying to keep Coronavirus out of your care home and keeping your residents safe.
But do you know how much this is costing you? The cost of PPE is only one factor and not even the largest.
On a weekly basis the cost of keeping your residents Covid-19 free could be the equivalent of several bed fees.
You need to know how much your efforts to keep your residents safe is costing you because only by knowing something can you have any hope of doing something about it.
In this post I’ll take you through the key task you should be carrying out and talk about what you should be doing now to manage the extra cost that this virus has laid at your door.
I’ve also created a free report, The Cost of Keeping Covid-19 Out of Your Care Home where I take you through the this in more detail and use an example nursing home to highlight the kinds of costs you could well be facing. In the report I also introduce a costing tool that will help you calculate exactly how much this pandemic is costing your care home.
If you want more specific and compelling reasons, here are five.
Do you currently have more empty beds than usual because of the crisis?
If you do, then like many care providers, will you take what clients you can at any price in order to fill those beds? And do you therefore think that an empty bed is the worst possible scenario?
Or will you be strategic and use this situation to ensure that you are not one of the 1 in 10 care homes that is forecast to ‘go bust’ because of coronavirus.
If you take a client for a low fee because you think an occupied bed is always better than an empty bed then please read on.
How much has the rise in the national living wage cost you? How much will it cost you for the rest of the year?
At the start of April the national living wage (NLW) increased by 6.5% to £8.20 for 21-24 year olds and by 6.2% to £8.72 for those 25 and over.
How much will your monthly staff bill increase by – £7000, £8000, more? A 50-bed nursing home’s staff bill could easily increase by £10,000 a month or more.
How will this year’s increase affect your care home and have you got it covered?
Economically we are in trouble – thousands of businesses have closed for an unknown period and many of them won’t reopen. Most private sectors are in a terrible economic crisis. Few exceptions include companies that make and supply the PPE and testers and all the other equipment we need to tackle this pandemic, supermarkets, domestic oil suppliers and social care.
Actually, let me re-phrase that… social care should be an exception, shouldn’t be in financial crisis but is and has been for years. With year-on-year record care home insolvencies, the social care sector has been in crisis for so long it almost feels like the norm.
But ironically, as we try and get through this awful pandemic, there as never been a better time to make your care home financially healthy. Demand for your beds has never been greater and councils have been given the funding to pay what you need and free up much needed NHS beds. (I know not all councils are doing that but that’s another matter.)
At the risk of being indelicate, when you take on new clients from your customers – your local authorities and CCGs, be brave enough to set the fee you really need and resist the pressure to reduce it.
Just to really drum this home…there has never been a better time to set and receive the fees you need in order to maintain a financially healthy, well-run care home and to turn this sector around for good.
You and your people are battling to care for your residents and keep them safe whilst possibly losing colleagues to self-isolation and fighting to get the PPE you need.
And whilst your people are at the coal face working hard to keep your clients safe and well, as registered manager and/or owner what are you doing? What do your people need you to be doing – aside from getting them more PPE?
What is your top priority?