The spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant (and seasonality) had a moderate impact on the pace of move-ins. While the pace of move-ins slowed during the Omicron surge, residents were not leaving out the back door of communities at the same rates that they did earlier in the pandemic. Respondents with nursing care beds cited lack of available staff, fewer hospital discharges due to COVID-19, and the holidays as reasons for a deceleration in the pace of move-ins. Notably, between 70% and 80% of organizations reported no change in the pace of move-outs, indicating that most residents have remained in their communities.
One-half of respondents (52%) in Wave 36 anticipate their organization’s operating margins will improve in the next six months. One-third (32%) expect a 1% to 5% increase, and an increasing share (16%) anticipates growth between 6% and 10%. However, labor costs will continue to be a mitigating factor. Nearly all respondents since July have been paying staff overtime, and the use of expensive agency/temp staff is growing, with nine out of ten organizations (89%) now tapping agency/temp staff.
In the Wave 35 survey, nearly half of organizations with multiple properties (45%) reported staff shortages in all their properties—up from roughly one-third (30%) in the Wave 24 survey conducted mid-March. While attracting community and caregiving staff remains a significant challenge, the percentage of organizations citing staff turnover increased from about one-half (53%) to more than two-thirds (70%) since mid-June.
“Lead volumes are improving. In Wave 34 of the survey, one-third of organizations report lead volumes reaching pre-pandemic levels (33%), up from just one-fifth back in April 2021 (20%). During the pandemic new construction lending had slowed sharply. A recent increase in construction lending is reflected in the Wave 34 survey where 41% of respondent organizations now expect their development pipelines to increase.