Care home occupancy will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until November 2021 at the earliest, an analyst has predicted.
In its revised forecasts, Carterwood said care home occupancy reached a low of 78.8% in June 2020 and would not return to the pre-pandemic level of 87.3% until November next year at the earliest.
The analyst said elderly care home bed capacity will continue to decline to December 2024 with 35,700 existing beds lost and 19,700 beds gained from development.
Carterwood said bed quality would rise gradually over the next five years with en-suite/market standard rooms increasing from 72.2% to 76.4% and wetrooms rising growing from 26.2% to 32.1%.
The analyst said the national shortfall in market standard beds would reach between 57,300 and 64,300 beds by December 2024.
The shortfall of wetroom beds will increase to between 221,600 and 228,600 beds by December 2024, Carterwood predicted.
Carterwood is forecasting 27,982 excess elderly care home deaths during the pandemic down from its original forecast of 36,442 due to the second wave being less severe than the first wave thanks to greater protection from policies and procedures.
“We are pleased to forecast that excess deaths in elderly care homes will be significantly lower than previously expected, while acknowledging that this brings no comfort to those families that have suffered the tragic loss of loved ones to this virus during the course of the pandemic,” Carterwood said.
“For those involved in building, running, and funding elderly care homes, we hope to be proved right in predicting that while occupancy will continue to fall slightly during the winter months, we will see a sustained recovery during 2021.”