The five stages of occupancy grief

There are many articles, studies and direct conversations regarding the state of the aged care industry today. One of the biggest pain points for providers is financial. Regular surveys such at the StewartBrown Benchmarking Reports highlight the significant fiscal impacts particularly as they relate to the cost of staffing, often to achieve compliance rather than impact direct resident care, and the loss of revenue when occupancy takes a hit.

We regularly work with clients across a range of projects and one such issue that commonly crops up is occupancy. Overall there is a preference to stay at home and in some areas intense competition results in significant oversupply of stock. That said, there is a market for everyone.

Throughout many of our occupancy projects we work with clients going through the well documented stages of grief.

Our take on occupancy stages of grief, with apologies to Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler, are outlined below.

Denial

“It’s just been a bad few months.” Yes it has.

“We have had a lot of deaths.” Agreed, but in residential aged care there …

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Occupancy how to

We get many calls from people seeking a “quick fix” or some “training” thinking that the answer lies in a quick sales workshop at the cheapest possible price. Ideal regularly works with #agedcare providers looking to improve their business performance, and we get great results. But there is no quick fix. And every unoccupied bed is costing the business a lot of money.

Would you like to know what works?

While I can genuinely say every client IS different, we do have a structured approach to assisting organisations improve their position.

Step 1 – we critically look at the current situation. This includes an independent review which is essential to removing any internal bias.

The metrics that we measure have been developed over the past ten years and consistently demonstrate the important factors that a provider or new entrant should be looking at. We recommend that you identify the right catchment, review the demographic profile of the catchment, the actual supply and demand rather than government planning ratios, financial metrics, undertake a competitive analysis using a proven assessment methodology, pricing, …

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aged care business as usual

While we are waiting for the Aged Care Royal Commission (the Royal Commission) hearings to commence again next week we have taken some time to reflect on the enormous effort some providers have put in to ensure it is “business as usual.”

One of our clients had an extremely busy December and beginning of January preparing its submission for the Royal Commission. Prior to this the organisation had noted a softening in occupancy across the portfolio, and while many providers have been reporting this in metropolitan areas, this organisation decided to do something about it.

Ideal was engaged to analyse each home and work collaboratively to develop an optimal solution to increase occupancy.

With hindsight there were a number of mitigating factors impacting some or all of the sites; some of which included:

Change in personnel at some sites Lack of a centralised repository of key contacts Improved level of amenity at local competitors Increased marketing activity by local competitors Change in pricing Varying degrees of outbound contact Local presentation varied greatly – some homes, while older, were immaculately presented …

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