By Suman Saha, Co-founder and Medical Director at Doctify (https://www.doctify.com/uk)
Choosing a care home is understandably difficult, both for individuals entering the care setting and their families.
There are countless options out there, meaning it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or worried about making the right choice. Add the emotional toll of these decisions, and it’s not hard to see why people find it hard to pick a care home.
So how do you make it easier for families to trust your care home and be confident that you provide the best care? One way you can build confidence in your care home is by collecting and publishing reviews from current residents and their visitors.
Many care homes do not encourage residents and their guests to shout about the facilities and staff that make a residence special. The average number of reviews on Google for 400 care homes in the UK was only four, and often these reviews are several years old. Fewer than 15 percent of care home residents or their families leave a single review in a year. This is a missed opportunity that can have a huge impact on your care home and the residents staying there.
Why online reviews are crucial to families searching for social care for their loved ones
Word-of-mouth recommendations have always been highly regarded. People are far more likely to trust an opinion from another person rather than a suggestion from an advert or a company.
Now, word-of-mouth recommendations are taking place online. Individuals share their experiences and tips on the internet, in a bid to inform others and help them make good choices. Care homes should embrace this trend, and use this as an opportunity to get the word out about their unique strengths.
Clear, informative online reviews for your care home are an invaluable way to promote transparency. They increase your credibility, as you prove that your institution is open and honest. This in turn helps families to feel confident that their loved one is in safe hands. The more information that is available, and the more positive testimonials they read, the more likely a family is to trust your care home.
What families look for in care home reviews
Families look for several different things in care home reviews, including:
• Proof that the care home can provide the kind of care their loved one requires. These needs could include care for dementia, respite, old age, challenging behaviour, stroke, epilepsy, speech impairment, and more
• Reassurance that their loved one will be safe in their new home
• Evidence of high quality of care for residents
• Kind, welcoming staff who can fulfil residents’ needs
• Lists of different activities that keep residents busy and entertained, helping them to feel
• Relatable stories from people in similar situations, including residents and their families,
to help them understand what life in the care home is really like
Why real-time feedback is so important for families
Families are unlikely to trust a facility that only has a few reviews from back in 2015, and for good reason. Why would they encourage their loved ones to live in a setting with so many unknown factors?
Research shows that at least 40 reviews are needed for a person to trust a care home, and 85 percent of people consider reviews that are more than three months old totally irrelevant. Real-time feedback gives residents a voice, allowing them to talk about their own experiences.
Reading these testimonies helps families make up their minds and feel secure in their choices as they should not have to leave their loved one’s future up to chance. Reviews can equip them with the knowledge they need to make the best choices, and empower your care home to provide the best care possible.
How reviews can help improve your care home
A consistent stream of reviews can enhance your brand presence online and increase conversion for potential customers. Forget expensive and ineffective SEO tactics – Google simply loves new, informative content. The search engine is more likely to reward brands that display up-to-date content that is always being expanded on.
A strong online presence achieved through reviews can make it easier to recruit great staff who want to work at an excellent facility. Positive reviews also boost team morale, letting current staff know that their hard work has been noticed and encouraging them to keep it up.
Reviews can even help to reduce the risk of a low CQC rating, as you can identify areas for improvement before inspectors come in. Achieving a good CQC rating is another way to reassure families that your care home is an excellent choice.
Find out more about why online reviews are becoming so important for care homes at https://thecareruk.com/why-online-reviews-are-becoming-so-important-for-care-homes/