Professional Comment

Why Online Reviews Are Becoming So Important For Care Homes

By Suman Saha, Co-founder and Medical Director at Doctify (

Word of mouth in social care is now taking place online.

As a digital-first society, online reviews have become a powerful form of ‘social proof’ that people rely on as they make decisions. The number of people looking at reviews when researching and comparing care homes has grown to 69% in seven years. Some studies have shown it to be as high as 90% across the whole sector.

Online reviews are giving care seekers the opportunity to hear directly from residents and their families. They are providing people with a clearer understanding of what to expect from the care homes that they are looking into.

What makes a review or rating truly transparent and trusted?

Choosing a care home will always be incredibly challenging and people need to have complete confidence in the information that they access on the internet. Social care providers can sometimes struggle to create a positive reputation online that truly reflects the excellent care that they provide.

There are three main criteria for building greater trust through online reviews – verification, volume and relevance:

• Verification: People look for independently verified reviews. At Doctify, we have found that people researching social care online are five times more likely to click on a care home with verified feedback than one without.

• Volume: People want to see that you aren’t cherry picking reviews to publish. More feedback often also equates to more up-to-date feedback, which people have the most confidence in. Care seekers want to hear from others in similar situations who you have recently supported.

• Relevance: More than a five star rating, people want to read reviews that are relevant to their circumstances and specific needs.

The power of reviews goes beyond care seekers

With a national staffing crisis in social care, we have seen that capturing the voice of residents and their families not only has a positive impact on care seekers. More and more, we are seeing providers use reviews to promote their team’s incredible work, helping to boost staff morale and attract new talent to the sector. It can be incredibly motivating to see and read validation of great care being provided.

A look to the future of review collection in care homes

Technology can now be used to collect and publish reviews within care homes. Through using a digital process to capture real-time feedback, managers have the opportunity to gain a truly representative picture of the care being provided at that moment in time. It allows them to highlight any issues and implement actions much earlier.

Harnessing technology to collect reviews also means that care homes are able to showcase their great care to their team and residents on a daily basis. What’s more, it enables care homes to properly represent themselves online without any additional administrative effort, meaning that they can focus on what matters the most – caring for their residents.