Mature businesswoman leading team meeting in conference room
Photo by: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Most long-term care operators believe workforce improvements are coming for the sector, according to the latest findings from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

NIC’s new Wave 38 executive survey revealed that a combined 72% of skilled nursing and seniors housing operators anticipate staffing challenges to improve in the second half of 2022 or by 2023. Findings also revealed that 11% believe staffing improvements will be made in the first half of 2022, while 17% expect that to come in 2024, 2025 or later. 

Staffing shortages have been reported by nearly all operators since last July, according to NIC, repeating findings also found in the McKnight’s 2022 Outlook Survey two months ago. The NIC survey also showed that attracting community/caregiving staff and employee turnover were the most significant challenges for survey respondents. 

Long-term care operators could use a workforce boost with the Biden administration pushing for minimum staffing levels as part of an extensive nursing home reform initiative

“Currently, all respondents are paying staff overtime hours and four out of five rely on agency or temp staff to fill in the gaps. About one-half do not expect their reliance on agency or temp staff to change in 2022; however, 40% anticipate it will decrease,” NIC senior principal Lana Peck said. 

Operators are also hopeful they’ll see their margins increase in the near future. 

Findings showed that 75% expect their margins to increase over the next six months, while just 5% expect margins to decrease. Of that 75%, the majority (or 55%) expect the increase will be between 1% to 5%, NIC found. 

“As the pandemic eases and occupancy recovery in senior housing progresses, rising operating expenses may limit the degree to which operating margins will grow in the next six months,” Peck noted.