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.
However, it pans out, your care business needs to adapt. You need to think about how you are going to make your care home as safe from coronavirus as possible, whilst trying to get back to some form of normality.
How much is it going to cost you to do this? How much has the pandemic cost you so far? I’ve done some number crunching and the potential cost to you is way more than I anticipated. The financial impact on your care home could be crippling.
You have already spent a significant amount in sourcing PPE and will have to continue to do so. How much are you spending on weekly basis and more importantly, how much per resident? PPE is just the start.
You should be carrying out daily temperature and oxygen saturation checks of your residents, as well as monthly coronavirus tests. You have also had to start testing your staff every week.
Both these resident and staff checks, and tests are massively time consuming and hence, costly. But just how much are these tasks costing you every week?
Remember, you provide a service and all the tasks that your staff carry out are a cost to your care home and need to be covered by your income – your fees.
In addition to these extra weekly costs you will have large one-off costs to make your care home environment as safe as possible.
Even if coronavirus hasn’t been in your care home you should make sure your building can handle the possibility. What changes do you need to make to your building to establish cordoned off areas or units for any clients who may catch the virus and for staff who need to look after them?
How will you keep staff separate during these times? Do you need to create an extra staff room and changing facilities?
If your rooms aren’t ensuites is that something you’ll need to change at some point?
You need to set up an environment for relatives to be able to visit their loved ones safely. Have you created safe visiting zones like pods yet? Do you have a working booking system and someone to escort relatives?
How much time does it take for a staff member to prepare a resident and stay with them during the visit to ensure no physical contact? And will they need to spend extra time with that resident if they are upset and anxious after the visit?
There is much you are already doing and more you may need to do. Download this report, in which I take you through all of this and more the potential extra cost of keeping this virus out and managing it if it gets in.
Once you have an idea of how much this pandemic is costing you and going to cost you going forward, the obvious question is how are you going to pay for this? It’s not a trivial amount by any means and the report shows your weekly cost could be the equivalent of a number of bed fees.
Things aren’t going to change overnight. So far, you’ve probably had to pay for this out of profit and possibly even your own pocket – neither situation is sustainable.
A business, in pretty much any other sector would, if necessary, increase their prices to cover these extra costs. But you know that your LAs and CCGs won’t agree to increased fees simply because your costs have gone up.
But eventually your fees will need to increase and the sooner they do the better and so there are things you should do now to start the ball rolling.
The first step is to work out how much all of this extra work, to keep your care home Coronavirus free and your residents safe, is costing you and hence, how much your weekly running costs have increased to.
Knowing is the first vital step because only by knowing can you do something about it.
Like any business, your costs need to be covered by your customers – each should share an equal percentage of these costs. This is your base cost for every resident before any cost of providing extra care, medical sundries or specialist equipment to each individual resident is added.
In this report, I outline the actions you should take to get to the fees you need and make your care home financially resilient to this and future crises.
Your care home(s) must be financially strong in bad times as well as good and right now is a really bad time.
Unfortunately, the longer you leave this the harder it will be to get through this crisis. One estimate I’ve read from a debt specialist is that 1 in 10 care homes won’t survive this pandemic and it could be as high as 3 in 10 that won’t make it. And that is on top of the already record-breaking insolvencies this sector suffers every year.
Increasing your fees won’t happen overnight but knowing your costs – especially with the new significant costs of keeping Covid-19 out of your care home – is the place to start.
As the owner and or registered manager, I would argue that this should be your highest priority. Please act now before it’s too late.