March 20, 2024

How to grow your business through new service types

Table of contents

Feeling like you’ve reached a ceiling in your business? Spotting new potential opportunities to delivery care in your community - but not sure how to go about getting them up and running? This article looks into each aspect of service expansion, offering practical steps and examples to guide care business owners and managers as you explore new service types and get your business flying!

Step One: What are the Opportunities Available as a Domiciliary Care Business?

First, let’s take a look at the twelve most common type of services that your business could potentially provide. You may already provide one, a number or all of these services - but if not, this list may give you food for thought on where you could potentially look to diversify.

1. Personal Care aka ‘Traditional homecare’

Description: Personal care involves assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and toileting. This service is tailored to individuals who struggle with these tasks due to age, disability, or illness.

Benefit: Helps maintain personal hygiene and dignity of the care recipient.

2. Live-In Care

Description: Live-in care provides round-the-clock support by having a care professional live in the home of the care recipient. This service is ideal for individuals needing continuous care and companionship.

Benefit: Ensures constant care and peace of mind for families, knowing that help is always available.

3. Respite Care

Description: Respite care offers short-term relief for regular caregivers, allowing them a break or vacation. This service can be planned or offered on an emergency basis.

Benefit: Prevents caregiver burnout and ensures continuity of care for the recipient.

4. Companion Care

Description: Companion care focuses on social interaction and companionship. It includes activities like conversation, walks, reading, or participating in hobbies.

Benefit: Addresses loneliness and promotes mental health and wellbeing.

5. Night Care

Description: Night care provides support during nighttime, especially for care recipients who may need assistance with toileting, medication, or have conditions like dementia that might cause nighttime disorientation.

Benefit: Ensures safety and support during the night, which can be particularly reassuring for both the care recipient and their family.

6. Medication Management

Description: This service involves assisting with the management and administration of medication, ensuring that the correct dosage is taken at the right times.

Benefit: Reduces the risk of medication errors and ensures consistent adherence to medication schedules.

7. Palliative Care

Description: Palliative care focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

Benefit: Offers a support system to help the patient live as actively as possible until death.

8. Dementia Care

Description: Specialised care aimed at supporting those with dementia. This includes managing behavioral symptoms, providing a safe environment, and assisting with activities of daily living.

Benefit: Tailored to meet the unique challenges faced by individuals with dementia, ensuring their safety and wellbeing.

9. Disability Support

Description: This service provides assistance to individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities, aiding in various daily tasks and promoting independence.

Benefit: Empowers individuals with disabilities to lead a more independent and fulfilling life.

10. Household Management

Description: Involves assistance with daily household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, cooking, and shopping.

Benefit: Helps maintain a clean and organized living environment, which is crucial for the overall wellbeing of the care recipient.

11. Transportation Services

Description: Provides transportation to and from appointments, social events, or errands, ensuring that care recipients remain mobile and connected to their community.

Benefit: Promotes independence and social interaction, reducing feelings of isolation.

12. Technology-Assisted Care

Description: Incorporates technology such as telecare and telehealth services to monitor and support care recipients remotely.

Benefit: Enhances the efficiency of care delivery and provides an added layer of support and monitoring.

Step Two: Understand where you could be needed most in the future

As the demographic and societal landscape evolves, certain domiciliary care services, often overlooked now, are poised to become increasingly valuable. Understanding these trends is crucial for domiciliary care businesses aiming to stay ahead and adapt to future demands. Let’s explore the service types that are expected to gain importance in the coming years, guided by aging trends and societal changes…

1. Dementia Care

Future Importance: With an aging population, the incidence of dementia is on the rise. Alzheimer's Research UK predicts that the number of people with dementia in the UK will increase to over 1 million by 2025. This trend indicates a growing need for specialised dementia care to help people stay healthier and happier in their homes for longer.

Source: Alzheimer's Research UK

2. Mental Health Support

Future Importance: Mental health awareness is increasing, and with it, the need for mental health support services. The Mental Health Foundation reports that mental health issues are not just confined to younger demographics but are a growing concern among the elderly.

Source: Mental Health Foundation

3. Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Future Importance: As life expectancy increases, so does the need for comprehensive palliative and end-of-life care. The British Geriatrics Society emphasises the importance of quality end-of-life care services for an aging population.

Source: British Geriatrics Society

4. Chronic Disease Management

Future Importance: The prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and COPD among the elderly is increasing. The NHS Long Term Plan has highlighted the need for better management of these conditions, which will increase the demand for domiciliary care services focusing on chronic disease management.

Source: NHS Long Term Plan

5. Mobility and Rehabilitation Services

Future Importance: With an increase in age-related mobility issues, services focusing on mobility assistance and rehabilitation are expected to become more important. Age UK reports that falls are a significant concern among the elderly, necessitating services that aid in mobility and prevent fall-related injuries.

Source: Age UK

6. Social Care and Companionship

Future Importance: Loneliness and social isolation in the elderly is a growing concern. According to the Office for National Statistics, an increasing number of elderly people are living alone, highlighting the need for social care and companionship services.

Source: Office for National Statistics

7. Nutrition and Diet Management

Future Importance: Proper nutrition is vital for the elderly, especially those with health conditions. The British Dietetic Association has stressed the importance of dietary management in elderly care, indicating a growing need for services that provide nutritional support.

Source: British Dietetic Association

By taking into account these emerging specialisms when it comes to plotting your service type expansion, you are already ahead of the curve when it comes to thinking strategically.

Step Three: Identifying Needs in your Immediate Community

Along with understanding the bigger picture, you also have to understand what may be missing a little closer to home. Conduct a detailed survey among your current care recipients and their loved ones. Include specific questions about their daily challenges, any additional support they require, and services they believe could improve their quality of life. The aim here is to pinpoint gaps in your current service offering that can be filled to better serve your existing clients.

Assessing Current Clients' Needs

Using Simple Surveys:

  • Designing Effective Surveys: Develop concise, easy-to-understand surveys focusing on care recipients' current satisfaction levels and potential unmet needs. Include both closed-ended questions for quantitative data and open-ended questions for qualitative insights.
  • Distribution and Collection: Surveys can be distributed during visits, mailed, or sent electronically, depending on the preference and capabilities of your care recipients.

Training Your Care Team:

  • Observation Skills: Train your care team to observe signs that might indicate unmet needs, such as difficulties in performing certain tasks, changes in mood, or comments about challenges they are facing.
  • Effective Communication: Encourage care professionals to engage in conversations that can reveal more about the recipients' needs and preferences.

Example Questions for Care Recipients:

  1. "Are there any activities you find more challenging now that you would like help with?"
  2. "Do you feel there are aspects of your health or wellbeing that need more attention?"
  3. "How do you feel about the amount of social interaction you have each week?"
  4. "Are there any services or support you feel you are currently missing?"

Understanding Wider Community Needs

Contacting Local Healthcare Providers:

  • Building Relationships: Establish connections with local GPs, hospitals, and specialist clinics. These healthcare providers can offer insights into common health issues in the area and services that might be in demand.
  • Gathering Data: Inquire about the types of care most commonly referred or requested, and any gaps they perceive in local domiciliary care services.

Researching the CQC Website:

  • Competitor Analysis: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) website provides information on other care providers in your area. Review their services and identify what they offer that you don't, and vice versa.
  • Identifying Gaps: Look for patterns in service offerings and ratings, which can indicate areas of high demand or under-serviced aspects of care.

Attending Local Council Meetings:

  • Community Engagement: Local council meetings are a rich source of information on broader community needs and concerns. They often discuss topics like elderly care, disability services, and public health issues.
  • Networking Opportunities: These meetings also offer opportunities to network with local leaders and community organisers, which can lead to partnerships or collaborative initiatives.

Consider Building Partnerships and Launching Together

Forming Strategic Alliances:

  • Identifying Potential Partners: Based on the gaps you’ve identified, look our for potential partners like local healthcare clinics, community organisations or even transport hubs that may provide a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to building in a new service.
  • Mutually Beneficial Arrangements: Reach out to your prospective partners, and suggest joining forces for partnerships that offer mutual benefits, such as shared resources or referral programs.

Steps for Effective Collaboration:

  • Draft Agreements: Once you’ve established a shared interest, ensure all partnerships are formalised with clear agreements outlining each party's role and responsibilities.

Step Four: Get your Team Ready to Deliver New Services

Got a clearer picture on where the opportunities are, and where you want to go next? Preparing your team for the introduction of new services is a critical aspect of successful business expansion in domiciliary care. This section covers the importance of involving your team in decision-making and provides a detailed guide on securing appropriate training for new services.

Involving Your Team in Decision-Making

The Importance of Team Feedback:

  • Understanding Change Management: Change management is crucial when expanding service offerings. It involves preparing, supporting, and helping individuals in your organization to adapt to change. By involving your team in decision-making, you're not only gaining valuable insights from their frontline experience but also fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to the change.
  • Enhancing Performance and Retention: When team members feel their opinions are valued and considered, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. This can lead to better performance, higher job satisfaction, and improved staff retention rates.

Gathering Team Feedback:

  • Conduct Meetings: Hold regular team meetings to discuss potential areas of expansion. Encourage open discussions about the types of services they believe the business should consider.
  • Feedback Surveys: Use anonymous surveys to allow team members to freely express their opinions and suggestions.

Securing Training for New Services

Identifying Training Needs:

  • Service-Specific Requirements: Depending on the new service type you plan to offer, identify the specific skills and knowledge required. For example, dementia care requires understanding of dementia's impact on behaviour and communication, while palliative care demands emotional intelligence and knowledge of pain management.
  • Team Skill Assessment: Assess the current skills and qualifications of your team to determine what additional training is needed.

Steps for Securing Training:

  1. Research Training Providers: Look for reputable training organizations or certification bodies that specialise in the healthcare sector. For instance, Skills for Care offers a range of training programs for different aspects of domiciliary care.
  2. Consult with Industry Experts: Reach out to healthcare professionals or organizations for recommendations on training programs. They can provide insights into the most relevant and up-to-date training available.
  3. Tailor Training to Your Services: Ensure that the training you choose is directly relevant to the new services you wish to offer. For example, if expanding into palliative care, seek training programs specifically designed for end-of-life care.
  4. Plan for Ongoing Training: Consider ongoing training and development as part of your strategy. The healthcare sector is constantly evolving, and continuous learning is essential.
  5. Allocate Resources: Set aside a budget and time for staff training. This may include covering course fees and providing time off for staff to attend training sessions.

Examples of Specific Training Sources:

  • Dementia Care: Dementia UK offers training and resources specifically focused on caring for individuals with dementia.
  • Palliative Care: The National Council for Palliative Care provides courses and resources for healthcare professionals providing end-of-life care.
  • Disability Support: Mencap offers training for care professionals working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

By engaging your team in the expansion process and investing in targeted training, you ensure that your business is not only equipped to offer new services but also primed for successful implementation. This approach leads to a more cohesive, skilled, and motivated team, capable of delivering high-quality care in a range of new service areas.

Step Five: Stay in Regulators Good Books

Expanding your domiciliary care services is an exciting venture, but it's crucial to maintain compliance with regulatory standards throughout the process. This section discusses the most common pitfalls in regulatory compliance when offering new services and highlights the importance of digital care management in maintaining these standards.

Navigating Regulatory Compliance in New Services

Common Pitfalls in Offering New Services:

  • Insufficient Training and Accreditation: All care professionals must be adequately trained and accredited for the new services offered. Failure to do so can lead to substandard care and legal issues.
  • Not Notifying the CQC: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) must be informed of any significant changes in your service offerings. This allows them to update their records and, if necessary, conduct assessments to ensure compliance.
  • Outdated Business Documentation: All legal and business documentation should reflect the new services. This includes updating service agreements, insurance policies, and operational guidelines.

Consequences of Non-Compliance:

  • Legal and Financial Penalties: Non-compliance can result in fines, legal actions, and even the closure of your business.
  • Reputation Damage: Being found non-compliant can damage your reputation, leading to a loss of trust among clients and partners.
  • Quality of Care: Ultimately, non-compliance can adversely affect the quality of care provided to your clients.

Action Steps for Compliance:

  1. Ensure all staff are adequately trained and accredited for new services.
  2. Notify the CQC about any significant service changes.
  3. Update all relevant business and legal documentation to reflect new offerings.

Article continues below this video

Birdie caught up with Andy from Helping at Home, to hear how he and the team are growing a sustainable and successful care business out in Nottinghamshire:

Embracing Digital Care Management for Service Expansion

The Role of Digital Care Management:

  • Streamlining Operations: Digital care management systems can streamline various administrative tasks, making it easier to manage new services efficiently.
  • Faster Onboarding: These systems facilitate quicker onboarding of new clients, ensuring that all necessary information is captured accurately and accessibly.

Benefits of Using Digital Solutions:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Digital systems often come with built-in compliance features, ensuring that all aspects of care delivery adhere to regulatory standards.
  • Real-time Documentation: Accurate and real-time documentation is crucial for regulatory compliance. Digital platforms enable immediate record-keeping, reducing the risk of errors.
  • Efficient Resource Management: Managing resources becomes more complex with the introduction of new services. Digital platforms can help allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring that staff are not overburdened and clients receive timely care.

Consequences of Avoiding Technology:

  • Slower Expansion: Without the efficiency offered by digital solutions, expanding your service offerings can be a slower and more cumbersome process.
  • Regulatory Risks: Manual systems increase the risk of errors in documentation, which can lead to compliance issues.
  • Competitive Disadvantage: In an increasingly digital world, not utilising technology can put your business at a competitive disadvantage.

By staying vigilant about regulatory compliance and embracing digital care management solutions, you can ensure that your expansion into new service areas is successful, sustainable and doesn’t get you into hot water with the CQC.

Step Six: Time to Launch

You’re almost ready to go! This section covers the final essential steps to effectively market your new service and establish a feedback loop for continuous improvement.

Marketing Your New Service Offering

Updating Your Website:

  • Highlight New Services: Update your website to prominently feature the new services. This could include a dedicated section or banner on the homepage.
  • SEO Optimisation: Ensure the content is SEO-optimised (i.e making it easy for people to find by asking Google) with relevant keywords to improve visibility in search engine results. This means frequently using the service type name and your business location in the written copy in your website - for example, ‘Get dementia care in Hounslow!’ or ‘Are you looking for respite care in Northampton?’
  • Informative Content: Create blog posts or articles that explain the new services in detail, showcasing the benefits and how they meet specific needs. Make sure these are also SEO friendly, and include lots of pictures to build trust with the reader. Better yet, record a video and add that into the page!

Informing Existing Clients:

  • Personalised Communication: Reach out to existing clients through personalised emails or letters, informing them about the new services. Highlight how these services could be beneficial for them or their loved ones.
  • Special Offers: Consider offering special introductory rates or packages for existing clients and their loved ones to try the new services first.

Widening Your Reach:

  • Social Media Campaigns: Utilise social media platforms to announce the new services. Create engaging posts, videos, or infographics that explain what's new and why it matters.
  • Community Engagement: Participate in community events, local fairs, or seminars to promote your new services. Face-to-face interactions can be very effective in building trust and awareness.
  • Press Releases: Send out press releases to local newspapers, online community groups, and healthcare blogs to reach a broader audience.

Best Practice Examples:

  1. Create a dedicated page on your website for the new service with clear, concise information and a call to action such as ‘Contact us today!’.
  2. Host a virtual Q&A session on social media where potential clients can learn about the new service and ask questions.
  3. Partner with local community centres or healthcare facilities to host informational seminars about the new service.

Establishing an Effective Feedback Loop

Early Feedback Collection:

  • Client Surveys: Shortly after the launch, send out surveys to clients who have availed of the new service. Ask specific questions about their experience, satisfaction, and any suggestions for improvement.
  • Staff Feedback: Regularly check in with your care team to gather their insights on how the service delivery is going, challenges faced, and areas for improvement.

Utilising Feedback for Iteration:

  • Analyse Responses: Carefully analyse the feedback to identify common themes or specific issues that need addressing.
  • Implement Changes: Use this feedback to make necessary adjustments to the service, whether it's operational tweaks, additional staff training, or enhanced communication strategies.
  • Continuous Improvement: Establish a culture of continuous improvement within your organization, where feedback is regularly sought, evaluated, and acted upon.

Importance of Continuous Feedback:

  • Adapting to Client Needs: Early feedback helps you quickly adapt your services to better meet the needs and expectations of your clients.
  • Enhancing Service Quality: Regular iteration based on feedback ensures the service quality is always improving, leading to higher client satisfaction and better care outcomes.
  • Team Engagement: Involving your team in the feedback process keeps them engaged and invested in the success of the new service.

Feedback Loop Examples:

  1. Implement a monthly feedback session with your team to discuss the new service, challenges faced, and brainstorm improvements.
  2. Create a simple, user-friendly feedback form for clients, making it easy for them to share their experiences and suggestions.
  3. Hold regular review meetings where client and staff feedback is discussed, and decisions are made on necessary adjustments to the service.

With all of that done, you’re ready to go. By understanding market needs, integrating technology, specialising in niche areas, building partnerships, implementing effective marketing strategies, establishing feedback systems, and ensuring regulatory compliance, you can successfully grow your business and provide enhanced care to your recipients. Now - what are you waiting for?

Want to read more on this? Click the button below to read our article ‘Mistakes to avoid when you add new service types.’

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