The number of people searching for a care home has seen a huge rise as the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is a 33% rise on December 2020 when the UK had entered the second wave of the pandemic, when traffic to the site was 1,206,323. In March last year, just as the UK was entering lockdown, traffic to the site was 1,381,361, 17% lower than March this year.
With visits now allowed again inside care homes and residents able to go on trips outside the care home, it seems people are once again turning to residential care as a safe place where elderly and disabled people can be looked after in a nurturing environment.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in care homes has also seen a sharp decline due to the UK carrying out a comprehensive vaccination programme, that has seen around 95 per cent of care home residents vaccinated against COVID-19.
Sue Learner, Editor of carehome.co.uk, said: “Care homes have been on the frontline during the pandemic and their staff went through a terrifying ordeal doing their best to protect their residents and keep them safe.
“Residents are often like family to care home workers with some staff leaving their own families and going into lockdown at the care home. However, the huge numbers of deaths of residents – as well as the ban on visits with families unable to see their loved ones – led to some people shunning residential care last year.
“We are delighted to see this rise in traffic to carehome.co.uk as it shows trust has returned and people are once again seeing residential care as the right place for their loved ones, where they will receive care that is tailored to their needs and take part in stimulating activities in a compassionate environment.”
Joanne Balmer, Chief Executive of Oakland Care, a luxury care home provider with six communities in the south of England, leads one of those care home operators which are seeing greater interest by prospective residents and their families.
“As a care provider, we have seen enquiry levels increase significantly with a record month in March 2021. Confidence to move loved ones into residential care has been restored as the vaccination programme accelerated and visiting restrictions began to ease. We have seen this increased interest throughout March and April and are looking forward to welcoming more residents and families into our homes.”
Nicole Cook, Marketing and Communications Manager for Rapport Housing & Care, which has five care homes in Kent, has seen a similar rise in demand. She said: “We have received a significant surge in the traffic to our website since the first easing of restrictions in March, with enquiries and admissions increasing too.
“With further easing from 17 May, we expect and hope this will continue, as the care sector has struggled significantly over the past 14 months, often being perceived as unsafe places to be, despite many care homes managing well.”