A more positive offshoot of the unprecedented pandemic disaster is the growth in ‘conscious’ investments, highlighting the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) framework when considering long-term sustainability. While the UK’s care sector requires a “shake-up”, it’s the investment potential for bespoke care services is predicted to escalate, with the ONS expecting a 106% rise of the 85+ demographic over the next decade. Here are some quintessential investor considerations when choosing a care establishment.
Approach to residents and conditions
The ESG model looks beyond generated profit margins and evidence-based practices to the heart of a business’ operations. In the case of care home companies in the UK, this encompasses the security and treatment of frontline workers, equal treatment of different stakeholders, efficient management of resources, and collaborative community empowerment projects with social and medical commissioners. While today’s care sector, with a market value of £ 22.2 billion, is a far cry from the Victorian “poorhouse” concept, the NHS’s EHCH model suggests not enough care homes adopt the multi-faceted “person-centred” foundation essential for holistic elderly wellbeing. For instance, research shows that the dependency ratio for older citizens is shrinking, and wielders of the “grey pound” prefer upmarket care homes as opposed to a “clinical straitjacket”.
Quality of interactions
The best residential care home providers in the UK make it a point to get to know their residents on a deeper level, collaborating with individuals and families to devise advanced care plans tailored to their unique personalities, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, and preferences. For instance, patients with dementia are forecasted to reach 1 million this year, and according to the John Hopkins centre, fostering meaningful personal relationships slows the onset of mental health symptoms. Certain ethical principles need to govern the patient-carer rapport, from granting them full autonomy over decisions relating to their daily activities and medical management to going beyond regulatory compliance and providing a reliable emotional support system. While investors need to assess the implementation of clinically-proven procedures, MRA-sanctioned equipment, and adherence to CQC-approved standards, it’s also essential to observe and interview managers on in-depth subjects. This could range from how they invest in their care workers and what approach is taken towards patients with “behavioural disorders” to maintaining a balance between assistive technology, privacy, and one-on-one contact.
Support received by HPCs
Although it was brought to stark light after the pandemic hit, one of the longstanding issues hindering progress in the UK’s care industry is its underpaid and overburdened workforce. A 2019 NHS survey revealed that 40% of HPCs were swamped with work-related stress, which is no surprise as there are 100,000 vacancies for full-time jobs in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Therefore, ESG investors must be vigilant about the recruitment and retention incentives provided to RNs, para-professionals, and other care workers, whether it’s TEC systems that reduce repetitive tasks or reinforcement in the form of multidisciplinary experts at hand. It’s also vital for care home providers in the UK to help workers map out clear career pathways, providing them with specialized training that enhances their skill set, role flexibility, and mastery of the latest technology and quality standards.
Strength of synergized partnerships
Another major industrial deficiency that contributed to a fragmented and dissatisfying experience for patients during the worst of the pandemic was the unstable communication links between health and social care authorities. According to the King’s Fund, “reshaping relationships” is necessary for the wellbeing and empowerment of diverse populations, and co-production driven by data and innovation is the only way forward.
Competitive benefits for investors
While this may be a bonus for ESG investors, practical asset allocators utilize a “best-in-class” selection process for companies, looking at alignment with personal values, as well as the risk-adjusted returns. Therefore, the best care establishments for investors proffer a package of customized incentives and the promise of annual capital appreciation from value-added amenities.