1 August 2023

2023 First Half Review

The first half of 2023 has proven to be another challenging time for care providers; overall enquiry volumes are down 22% when compared with the first half of 2022.

Several factors we believe are having an impact:

Cost of living pressures

We are increasingly finding care seekers searches are price sensitive; our partners who are placed at the premium end of the market have seen the largest drop in enquiries comparing 2023 to 2022.

Families are stating cost is having an impact on their decision making process, with many holding off placing a loved one in a care home until they physically cannot cope, meaning the acuity of need is higher and urgency of care is greater.

The usual Spring / Summer respite market has not been as strong this year. Many enquiries who contacted homes at the start of the 2023 looking for summer respite cover have since changed their plans for summer breaks and have now closed their enquiries.

Informal care arrangements

Many care seekers are closing off their enquiries with care providers (care homes and domiciliary services), sighting that they have made alternative arrangements with either friends and family, or local Personal Assistance (PAs) to provide the required support.

Anecdotally care seekers have again cited cost and value for money as a reason for seeking informal support.

Public sector strikes

April this year saw the lowest number of referrals made to care services on a per home basis since July 2021. The two-week period of the Easter weekend in which Nurses and Junior Doctors went on strike resulted in a 46% drop in funded care enquiries.

When mapping public sector strike days (Junior Doctors, Nurses, Teachers) to referrals made to care services, we see a pattern usually associated with public holidays in which enquiries fall by between 14% and 22% across all our partners.

What does the data say?

Enquiry profile year to date

Between January and June this year, the TrustedCare contact centre has taken just over 17,000 care enquiries on behalf of our partners. The tables below compare the enquiry profile this year, to the same provides in the first 6 months of 2022.

The general monthly pattern of enquiries has remained the same during the first half of 2022 and 2023, however the overall volume of enquires to residential and nursing homes has decreased by 22%.

Enquiries made to domiciliary care providers have dropped by 11% compared with the same period in 2022.

The first quarter of 2023 saw a 32% drop in enquiries however there has been an increase in the second quarter driven by a surge in respite care enquiries.

Referral Channels

For our contact centre partners, we track where enquiries originated from and we capture how the enquirer stated they known about the home or service e.g. "How did you hear about us?".

The table below breaks down where enquiries originated from across our 34 (care home) contact centre partners between January and June 2023.

Channels enquiries orignated %
Providers own website 53.6%
Google My Business 22.9%
CareHome.co.uk 8.4%
Other 5.9%
TrustedCare.co.uk 3.2%
Autumna 2.5%
Google PPC - Call extension or dynamic number 1.7%
Literature or brochure 0.7%
HousingCare.org 0.3%
Lottie 0.3%
Bing Places 0.2%
Social Media 0.1%
Local Door Drops 0.1%
CareChoices 0.1%
Press Ads / Local Advert 0.05%
Marketing video 0.05%

However, if you compare the channel in which the enquiry originated to where the care seeker stated they found out about the care home, the breakdown is different.

"How did you hear about us?" %
Google Search 34.5%
Home known locally 21.7%
Recommended by family / friend of a resident 17.0%
Care Services Directory (Multiple) 5.8%
Social Worker referral 4.4%
Local recommendation 2.6%
Recommended by current / previous staff 2.2%
Recommended by local healthcare professional - GP, Nurse, OT. 2.1%
Recommended by other local care service 1.9%
Hospital Referral / Recommendation 1.4%
Other (Misc/Not given) 1.3%
CQC Website / Report 1.2%
Previous resident <1%
Council Directory <1%
Google Ad <1%
Facebook <1%
Literature <1%
Local Door Drops <1%
Local Advert <1%
Recommended by CHC Team <1%

Collectively, local recommendation by current / previous residents, their families, friends and healthcare professional has driven around 47% of all enquiries made into care homes over the past 6 months.

These channels typically come with a much lower cost base and generate significantly higher rates of return than general advertising, or digital campaigns.

We have seen partners use social media platforms such as Facebook to good effect in keeping the local community updated with activities at the home. While others have used ongoing email newsletters to key community stakeholders to great effect in driving funded referrals.

On the whole we also find that care providers who generate a high number of leads due to good local reputation also receive a much higher number of calls from job seekers looking for employment, typically an increase of between 9% to 12% in job seeker calls.

Conversion Rates

The average conversion rate on enquiries across all partners YTD has been 20.22%.

However, there is variation in the source of the referral, care type, funding type and duration of stay. The tables below show the average conversion rate across all our partners by these factors.

Referrer Groups Conversion Rate
Local Reputation 29.48%
Referrers - Social Worker, CHC, GP etc. 28.91%
Paid Local Advertising* 15.77%
Digital Channels 6.04%
Care Type Conversion Rate
Nursing Care                                              . 26.9%
Residential Care 15.2%
Funding Type Conversion Rate
Privately Funded                                       . 20.3%
Local Authority Funded 17.3%
CHC Funded 38.5%
Duration of Care Conversion Rate
Respite Care                                               . 27.6%
Permanent Care 19.9%

Three Key Takeaways:

  • The market has seen a 22% drop in new care enquiries compared to the same period last year
  • 47% of all enquiries our partners received came from local recommendations
  • Average conversion rate on enquiries YTD is 20.22%

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