BREAKING NEWS: Care home beds lying vacant due to staffing and cost issues, says LaingBuisson

William Laing

A new LaingBuisson report says care home occupancy is lower than previously thought with people being turned away from services due to staffing shortages and providers not being able to cover additional costs.

The Care Homes for Older People report says care home occupancy stands at 85%, lower than previously thought, and calls for ways of levering “latent provision” back into use.

William Laing, report author and data director at LaingBuisson, said: “These findings call for a realignment of how we think about how future demand for care home places will be met.

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“Ally this to the predictions for demand based on proximity to end of life rather than age, where we have adopted the methodology originally proposed by the Brookings Institute in the USA, and the issues the market faces are more manageable and resolvable.”

The report throws new light on care home supply and demand, reporting that net capacity rose by 900 beds in the year to March 2018, which the majority of this gain being driven by nursing homes.

LaingBuisson also highlights the contrasting fortunes of self-pay and state-pay focused providers.

William said: “Where state-pay prevails, there continues to be significant pressure on providers’ prices and margins from council and CCG commissioners, putting into question the sustainability of the model.

“Where self-pay prevails, the sector remains robust and the private pay funding model, based on liquidation of owner-occupied property value, looks likely to remain sustainable for at least the next three decades, so long as there is no collapse in property values.

“The importance of this to the market as a whole is reflected in the fees paid by ‘pure’ self-payers who account for 52% of the market by value but only 45% by volume.”

The report finds that the market continues to grow by about 3% per annum (nominal), driven by cost inflation, and was worth £16.9 billion in the year to March 2018.

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