With new emerging variants and a lingering COVID-19 pandemic, skilled nursing facilities have been struggling with occupancy rates. Skilled Nursing News reports, operators are now less hopeful of reaching pre-pandemic rates next year and instead are focusing on the potential recovery in the year 2023.
Earlier, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) executive survey results showed four out of five participants expecting recovery this year or 2022. In a recent survey, nine out of ten participants are now hopeful for a recovery in or after 2022.
The survey also asked executives about staff retention, recruitment and turnover. One out of five operators attested to an increase in using agency staff by 100%. About half agreed to having an increase of 50% of using agency staff. Approximately, 3 out of 4 operators currently use staffing agencies. Half of the operators questioned were experiencing staffing shortages.
NIC questions operators on the biggest challenges they face. As of August, most operators had difficulty attracting community and caregiving staff. Their second biggest challenge was the rate of staff turnover. Operators did have some success with occupancy rates as they increased this year. Additionally, lead volumes increased by 16% reaching pre-pandemic rates. Other positive results included an increased move-in pace.
Lana Peck, Senior Principal at NIC, stated “fewer organizations with nursing care beds reported a deceleration in the pace of move-ins since the summer when the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus was in broad circulation.”
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