Insight

A home for the future

By Sarah Walker | 6 January 2020
En-suite Facilities
25%

Nationally, less than 25% of registered beds have wetroom facilities and a further 25% have no en-suite

A home for the future

Care homes can deliver solid investment returns at a relatively low risk, but our business is about much more than financial profits.   

While our primary duty is to our shareholders and investors, the nature of the asset type we invest in requires that we take a more holistic approach than might be required of more traditional financial fund managers.

We see our responsibility as threefold: to deliver consistent, long-term returns to our investors, a high standard of living for the residents of our care homes and a safe, functional and pleasant environment for the carers and other staff who work there.

All of that relies on us investing in the right kind of care homes from the outset, which is why we have a number of different research, analysis and management teams working together to ensure each investment delivers well for everyone involved. Regulation, requirements and demand will change as time goes on and we make every effort to ‘future-proof’ the homes, going over and above what we see as the unacceptable ‘norm’ that exists in 75% of the sector today, anticipating future expectations and setting what we see as the dignified standard for elderly care.

Our care home facilities

The assets under our management are about much more than financial returns. That means, regardless of the good financial performance of a home, we will never make an investment unless it satisfies a number of criteria, beginning with the facilities.

While it is for the operators of our care homes – our tenants - to manage day to day, deliver on regulatory standards and look after the welfare of their staff, it is very much our responsibility to provide them with a property and workplace that makes it easy to care properly for the residents. This is just one of the reasons we only invest in modern, purpose-built homes, that have en-suite wetrooms.

Although some of the older care homes in the sector that were converted from period properties have closed, the vast majority of those still operating are no longer fit for purpose from a bricks and mortar perspective. With narrow corridors and doorways, awkward staircases and a lack of even basic en-suites - let alone full wetroom facilities - moving residents around and caring for them can be incredibly difficult for staff. Upgrading this type of property to meet modern standards, even where it would be possible, is usually not financially viable.

In contrast, purpose-built care homes tend to be fundamentally spacious, light and easy to navigate. Some of the homes we invest in are already up and running; others are new builds; in which case we are often able to work with developers to make adjustments to the layout if we feel it could be improved.

Fundamental to the design is that every bedroom has an en-suite wetroom, and this is something we insist on in the case of new builds. Having a facility within a resident’s own room where they can shower is not a ‘nice’ extra; it’s integral to carers being able to tend to residents personal care, quickly and privately, as and when required. With up to two-thirds of care home residents affected by incontinence, it’s of paramount importance that there is the facility to ease that indignity.

We rarely purchase going concerns that do not have 100% en-suite wetrooms off the bedrooms, however, where we do, we make sure there is the potential and a plan to upgrade the existing facilities. For instance, with one of the homes we acquired in 2016, we reduced the number of bedrooms from 69 to 45, in order to make them larger and gain enough space to add wetrooms.


Nationally, less than 25% of registered beds have wetroom facilities and a further 25% have no en-suite. Where there is an en-suite, the industry ‘standard’ consists of a WC and wash hand basin only. Of the homes within Target’s fund, 96.3% of bedrooms have wetrooms and 3.7% have toilet and handbasin en-suites, the latter which will have a program of upgrading agreed All of our new-build homes ongoing will have 100% wetroom provision (information accurate as of June 2019)


 

Ideally, we prefer that our homes should also have:

  • Wide corridors and doorways, to allow residents to move and be moved around the home easily.
  • Several separate lounge and dining areas, ensuring there is at least one on each floor, so the home doesn’t feel too institutional.
  • Quiet rooms and areas where residents can spend time with their families.
  • Good kitchen and laundry facilities.
  • Landscaped gardens that are easy for residents to move through, with plenty of seating areas.
  • Where possible, we will also have balconies on upper floors, to ensure less mobile residents are still able to enjoy fresh air and views.

Once we’re happy that the building and its facilities are suitable, we look at the décor and other elements that can make a positive difference to the daily lives of our residents and staff.

Targets Fund
96.3%

of Target's bedrooms have wetroom facilities

The look and feel of our homes

We recognise that having to leave their home and move to a place where only one room is their own, can be an unsettling and often emotional experience for older people. That’s why we do our very best to ensure that, where we are able to influence the choices of our partner operators or developers, the environment is as pleasant as possible. For us, that means a home not feeling too clinical and having a warm, welcoming atmosphere from the moment people walk through the front door.

Where space permits, we’ll always encourage developers or operators to include extra leisure areas, such as a residents’ café/bar, a library or activity rooms. Even a hairdressing salon and nail bar is now de rigueur!

Catering to those living with dementia is a key consideration, so bright lighting, colour contrasting and easy wayfinding is essential. While the theories around dementia theming vary, the overarching principle is that the environment is stimulating. One of our homes has brick-effect wallpaper in the main communal corridor area and room signs that give a ‘marketplace’ feel; others have display cabinets filled with pre-1950s toys, literature and marketing memorabilia that  is hoped will encourage residents to reminisce, and make their visitors smile, as well as generate easy topics of conversation.

“My mum is a very happy resident. She was reluctant to move into a care home but has settled extremely quickly, thanks to the caring staff and comfortable facilities. The place is very homely and there are lots of spaces to either socialise or get peace. There always seems to be lots going on and everyone is encouraged to join in. The bedrooms are lovely and some have small patios open to the large gardens. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come to a place like this in my later years.” (Windsor Court, Wetherby)

For today and tomorrow

As the demand for high-quality care homes continues to increase, it becomes ever more important that we invest in properly-designed, well-maintained properties that are run by a professional operators. Taking the time to research and select the right new or recently-built homes means we can be confident that the structure and facilities will be suitable for many years to come and keep ongoing maintenance costs relatively low.

We see ourselves very much as engaged landlords and, through building good relationships with our tenants and making regular visits to each of our homes, we’re able to partner with them in providing quality settings in which they can provide dignified care for their residents. The result: a healthy investment fund that we believe will continue to deliver  stable returns well into the future.

 

‘Investing in care, delivering returns’

 

 


 

Important Information

Target Advisers LLP and Target Fund Managers Ltd (together ‘The Company’)

  

The views that are expressed are those of the individual employees/members within the Company and should not be considered as advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a particular investment. They reflect personal opinions and should not be taken as statements of fact nor should any reliance be placed on them when making investment decisions.  This communication was produced and approved on the stated date and has not been updated subsequently. It represents views held at the time of writing and may not reflect current thinking. Target Fund Managers Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. Persons resident or domiciled out with the UK should consult with their professional advisers as to whether they require governmental or other consents in order to enable them to invest and their tax adviser for advice relevant to their own circumstances. All investment strategies have potential for profit and loss. All information is sourced from the Company and is current unless otherwise stated

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