Only 21% of nursing care executives saw an accelerated pace of move-ins in the past 30 days, according to the most recent National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Executive Insights survey.
Executives of 78 small, medium and large seniors housing and skilled nursing operators participated in the latest survey – responses were submitted between January 10 and February 6. They weighed in during a surge in Covid-19 cases related to the omicron variant, which taxed staff and capacity, with some states opening regional support sites to relieve the strain on hospital systems.
Half reported no change in the past 30 -days as lack of available staff, fewer hospital discharges due to COVID-19 and the holidays were cited as reasons for the slowdown.
In fact, similar to the delta wave, the pace of move-ins slowed in the most recent survey with omicron cases surging.
Fewer organizations with memory care units and/or nursing care beds saw an acceleration of move-ins compared to the previous survey – 21% vs. 33% for the nursing care segment. Indeed, at these higher care levels, move-ins “slowed notably” during this survey period, the report stated.
Most organizations reported no change in the pace of move-outs, which indicated residents had “remained in their communities,” according to NIC Senior Principal Lana Peck.
“Of the respondents that noted an increase in the pace of move-outs, three-quarters indicated that residents were moving to receive higher levels of care,” she said in an analysis of the results.
Only 32% of respondents indicated that their lead volume was currently at pre-pandemic levels.
And the survey reflects the intense staffing challenges facing providers. Four out of five organizations with multiple sites (81%) reported staff shortages in more than half of their properties, up from roughly one-half in mid-March of last year.
Most respondents report using overtime hours (97%-100%) and agency or temp staff (79%) to backfill staffing shortages. Operators like Colorado-based Vivage Senior Living have reported costs associated with agency staff ballooned over the past year.
Analysts added a new question to the next NIC executive survey to better understand the degree of support operators have for federal investigations into the anticompetitive practices that nursing and other direct care staffing agencies have been accused of committing over the course of COVID.
Operating margins are expected to increase for respondents, with the highest percentage – 48% – expecting an increase between 1% and 5%. However, – 21% of respondents expect margins to stay the same.
A native of Lincoln Park, Chicago, Alex has worked as a reporter since graduating from the University of Denver with a journalism degree in 2015, covering the COVID-19 pandemic extensively since the news first broke in March, 2020. A former Colorado resident and avid skier, he enjoys playing golf and watching Da Bears in his free time.
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