NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care


By: Ryan Brooks  |  June 26, 2020

Executive Survey Insights:  COVID-19 | Wave 1, Weeks Ending June 21, 2020

COVID-19  |  Executive Survey Insights  |  Senior Housing  |  Skilled Nursing

A NIC report to provide insight into COVID-19 among current residents and to more clearly understand existing conditions by care setting.

NIC’s monthly Executive Survey Insights: COVID-19 of seniors housing and skilled nursing operators is designed to bring awareness to the operators, their capital providers and business partners, and the general public, on the current COVID-19 penetration rates by care segment. Providing data on current penetration rates gives perspective on how the sector has adapted in the three months since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Providing data by care segment enables insights into how COVID-19 has impacted the different populations in each segment, which vary substantially in levels of health.  

The initial survey (Wave 1) includes responses collected June 9-June 21, 2020 from owners and executives of 105 seniors housing and skilled nursing operators from across the nation. Detailed reports for this wave, along with past survey findings can be found on the NIC COVID-19 Resource Center webpage under Executive Survey Insights.

Summary of Insights and Findings

Data collected in a survey of seniors housing and care operators by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), shows operator average COVID-19 penetration varies by care setting among current residents, ranging from 0.3% in independent living to 6.7% in nursing care.

Data also shows COVID-19 testing varies by care segment, with an operator average ranging from 9.8% independent living up to 34.2% in skilled nursing.   

Key Findings

Testing and Current Penetration of COVID-19 by Care Segment

Respondents were asked: “Distributed into the following categories, the total number of my organization’s (independent living, assisted living, memory care, nursing care) residents were: 1) Tested for COVID-19 with a PCR test, 2) Laboratory confirmed positive PCR test, and 3) Suspected COVID-19”

  • The operator average percent of residents tested for COVID-19 (of residents in place on May 31, 2020) for independent living is 9.8%. For assisted living the operator average percent residents tested is 21.9% and for memory care is 17.6%. The care segment with the highest resident testing is nursing care at 34.2%.
The operator average percent of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in independent living is 0.3%. For assisted living the operator average percent is 1.5% and for memory care is 4.3%. The care segment with the highest average percent of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 is nursing care at 6.7%.


  • Responses were collected June 9-June 21, 2020 from owners and executives of 105 seniors housing and skilled nursing operators from across the nation.
  • More than one half of respondents were exclusively for-profit providers (62%), 28% of respondents were exclusively nonprofit providers, and 10% operate both for-profit and nonprofit seniors housing and care organizations.
  • Owner/operators with 1 to 10 properties comprise 52% of the sample. Operators with 11 to 25 properties make up 22% while operators with 26 properties or more make up 26% of the sample.
  • Many respondents in the sample report operating combinations of property types. Across their entire portfolios of properties, 57% of the organizations operate seniors housing properties (IL, AL, MC), 21% operate nursing care properties, and 22% operate CCRCs (aka Life Plan Communities).


Answering on behalf of their organizations, seniors housing and care owners and executives provided the COVID-19 incidence data shown above. The data is self-reported, non-validated, and based on a convenience sample.

Data is reported as operator averages to prevent the skewing of data that can be caused by larger-sized operators. Operator averages are obtained by first calculating rates for each operator survey response and then taking an average of those rates across the sample.


The following definitions were included with the survey instructions to ascertain specific responses from operators:

  • Lab Tested Positive: Includes only residents who have been tested for active infection with PCR test. Serology antibody tests should not be included. Includes residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 at a CDC, state or local laboratory.
  • Suspected Cases: Means the resident is managed as if they have COVID-19 with signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, but do not have a laboratory positive COVID-19 test result or those with pending test results. 
  • Recovered: For residents in a hospital or rehab setting, "recovered" is defined as having had two consecutive negative tests at least 24-hours apart; for residents in-house, 1) 72-hours symptom-free with no medication, and 2) at least ten days from onset of symptoms.
  • Active Cases: Those who are laboratory-tested positive, suspected positive, or diagnosed by a physician, and are still in place but not deceased and do not meet the criteria for "recovered."

NIC wishes to thank survey respondents for their valuable input and continuing support for this effort to bring clarity and transparency into the seniors housing and care space.


If you are an owner or C-suite executive of seniors housing and care properties and have not received an email invitation but would like to participate in Wave 2 of the Executive Survey: COVID-19, which will open on July 7, 2020, please click here.


About Ryan Brooks

Senior Principal Ryan Brooks works with the research team in providing research, analysis, and contributions in the areas of healthcare collaboration and partnerships, telemedicine implementation, EHR optimization, and value-based care transition. Prior to joining NIC, he served as Clinical Administrator for multiple service lines within the Johns Hopkins Health System, where he focused on patient throughput strategies, regulatory compliance, and lean deployment throughout the organization. Brooks received his Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration from James Madison University and his Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

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