INTERVIEW: Two leaders in the care home sector discuss their expansion into home care

Mike and Adam

HCI speaks to two leaders in the care home sector who have recently invested in the development and roll out of new home care services. They discuss their reasons behind the move and where they see the home care market heading in the future.

Mike Padgham, managing director,
Saint Cecilia’s Care Group

Scarborough-based Saint Cecilia’s, which currently operates four care homes and a day care centre, believes home care will “complete the jigsaw of services” that it can offer.

What inspired your move into the home care market?
We have always wanted to be able to provide a complete care service for older and vulnerable people, but home care was the missing piece of the jigsaw. We want to provide support to help people to retain their independence, in their own home, for as long as they can, as we think this is terrifically important to us all. I think it also ties in with a government desire to see people live fulfilled lives in their own homes, with their own family, friends and community around them. But we also acknowledge that for many people there will also come a time when they need the extra help and support that only a care or nursing home can provide. For those, we hope to be able to provide a continuity of service and support, within the Saint Cecilia’s family.

Story continues below

Why was now the right time to enter the sector?
We are introducing this now because we feel the timing is right for us and because we feel it fits in with the mood of the country. The government is putting great emphasis on supporting people to stay in their own home and we back that. It is also vital that care providers diversify and provide a range of services to meet all needs. From a purely business perspective, like all organisations, we want to diversify and minimise the risk across the different services we offer.

What type of home care services will you be offering?
In the first instance, we will be providing care for older and vulnerable adults, but in the fullness of time we hope to extend this to people with other care needs, such as those with a learning disability. We will provide any level of care, from a single hour upwards, and will include getting up, preparing meals, personal care, putting to bed and overnight stays.

Which areas of the country will you be serving?
Initially we will be providing the service across the region we are most familiar with, which is North and East Yorkshire.

What are your long-term ambitions for home care?
We would be looking to grow and establish a viable, efficient and successful level of home care service within a year. We want to provide a quality service at a price that is attractive to the public purse, whilst plugging a gap in the market and also offer staff the best pay, terms and conditions that we are able.

Given the uptick in demand for home care and the call for a ‘home first’ strategy, is the future of social care in the home?
We do see a growth in the support of people in their own home. It is something that has been talked about and attempted before, but I think there is a real impetus now for helping people to stay in familiar surroundings with the help and support of their local communities and with input from care providers, for as long as they can. However, for it to succeed, the government will need to better support home care as part of a long-overdue reform of overall social care. For far too long it has not been properly recognised and, in some quarters, seen as a cheaper option than residential care. This has to end and home care be recognised as a vital means of support for a substantial sector of the community.

Will there still be a place for care homes in 10-20 years’ time?
Yes, of course. Whilst greater emphasis, and hopefully resources, are targeted towards helping people to stay at home, there will always be a need for the type of care that only a care or nursing home can properly provide. We are living with an ageing population with ever-changing levels of need. Over time, people’s care needs do grow and change and, in many cases, go beyond what home care can achieve.

Adam Hutchison, managing director,
Belmont Healthcare

Solihull-based Belmont Healthcare, which currently operates specialist elderly and dementia care homes in East Sussex and Kent, said Belmont@Home will offer a bespoke service, tailored to the needs of the customer.

What inspired your move into the home care market?
As a care operator, multiple forms of support has always been our goal. Just offering a single option to families is not enough. We want to deliver care into the community, further enhancing the continuity of the care journey for people in care.

Why was now the right time to enter the sector?
Home care was always a market we saw ourselves entering into, but following the past year, it’s clear that care operators cannot only focus on single income streams. Occupancy in care homes has been a challenge and home care helps us not only increase engagement, but decrease our risk by focusing on more than one way of supporting people.

What type of home care services will you be offering?
Belmont@Home will be a fully rounded support service looking at early support in the form of concierge or companionship, right the way through to end-of-life care and live-in care in your own home.

Which areas of the country will you be serving?
As an organisation, Belmont Healthcare currently has two key clusters in the South East of England and the West Midlands. These will be the two key focus areas initially for Belmont@Home as a service. With our head office in Solihull, we’re close to main transport links, so this is a great location to grow the service. And with multiple care homes in Kent and East Sussex, the service will become a real value add for those requiring support in those areas.

What are your long-term ambitions for home care?
The aim is always to become the partner of choice for the areas we operate and deliver outstanding support this is the minimum requirement. The key is to be seen as a forward-thinking provider that gives people choice.

Given the uptick in demand for home care and the call for a ‘home first’ strategy, is the future of social care in the home?
The sector has been moving this way for some time – if you look at the Market Position Statements for many local authorities, they have a “Home First” strategy and, ultimately, this is right. We need to all agree that there is a place for each part of the care journey and a person will move through these services as their own needs change and become more complex. By having these multiple services, we can help facilitate this care journey more appropriately and therefore improve the outcomes for people in the long run. It is all about providers offering continuity of care, which is one of our core values at Belmont Healthcare.

Will there still be a place for care homes in 10 to 20 years?
Absolutely. We certainly see them as the support mechanism for acute care service and are very focused on enablement and rehabilitation post-NHS services. Also, by up-skilling the workforce, care homes will play a vital role in supporting people rather than them having to go into hospital unnecessarily. What we all need to do is work to help others understand the important structures within social care and how they equally impact needs at a certain point in time. Belmont Healthcare hopes to be at the forefront of this by having a multifaceted care delivery in many clusters across England to help facilitate such a future market for care.

Caption: (Left-Right) Mike Padgham and Adam Hutchinson.

Tags : Adam HutchinsonBelmont HealthcareMike PadghamSaint Cecilia's
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke