Choose your country

Or view all businesses for sale


Sector spotlight care homes

Sector Spotlight: Care Homes

With the government withdrawing NHS care facilities, here's a look at the private care home sector.

Care has not been such a contentious issue since 1834, when The Poor Law Amendment Act recognised that local parishes were too small to provide adequate, effective care for paupers, the sick and the elderly.

Parishes were grouped together into unions, and each union built a workhouse, which allowed vulnerable of society a place to go, earning their keep in often brutal circumstances.

While we have moved on considerably in terms on the quality of care we provide (grandmothers are no longer chopping wood to earn their keep), there are some striking societal similarities.

Today, for example, around 4% of the elderly are in long‐term residential care, irrespective of their financial situation, a figure roughly the same as the number of in‐house paupers of 1892. 

With the county's age demographics about to take a huge shift - some estimates suggest that by 2031, one in four people will be over 65 and by 2038 and a massive 66% of the population will need some kind of care assistance.

The question of how we will be cared for when our generation becomes unable to care for ourselves is increasingly pressing.

Big society

As part of the Conservative's 'Big Society' manifesto, the emphasis for the care sector has been taken away from the NHS and pushed toward the private sector. A major provision of 'community' care by private and charitable sectors is once again to the fore.

As such, the care home industry is in a state of rapid expansion, with the government plans to increase the private sector's role within the health service. 

66% of the population will need some kind of care assistance by 2038

Contacts are being increasingly awarded to private companies to provide the care support that the NHS can otherwise not handle. So, care homes are certainly fertile ground for a business owner: recession proof and long-term demand is virtually guaranteed.

Care quality commission

As a number of recent scandals have shown, it is vitally important for the right people to work in the care home sector. Running a care home requires you to be of a warm disposition, physically fit, of sound mind, and above all - patient.

The governing body for care homes in England is the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who monitor that care homes are run to legal requirements and good-practice standards under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. All care homes must be registered with the CQC.

While you do not have to have a professional care background to open a care home, you do have to be judged to be 'fit' to run the home.

Much like if you were to work with children, working with the elderly and vulnerable requires a series of background checks, including information about qualifications, skills and experience.

The CQC will also ask you to provide an enhanced disclosure from the Criminal Record Bureau and evidence of your previous employment (and any potential problems therein).

If the buyer of the home is not able to provide this information, or will not run the home on a day to day basis, then a Registered Manager must be appointed who does meet the above criteria.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for a *free* account to receive the latest small business advice, features, videos and listings directly to your inbox!

Matt Skinner

About the author

Matt Skinner writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.