Empty nursing home bed and wheelchair
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Occupancy at skilled nursing facilities has continued its steady increase, and at the same time operators are seeing increased care needs from residents, new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care reveals. 

SNF occupancy increased by 23 basis points during the month of March to reach 77.1% — its highest level since April 2020. The rise comes after occupancy ended the month of February at 76.7%, which at the time also was the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

“After declining 30 basis points in January because of the Omicron variant challenges, including increased staffing shortages, occupancy has increased 119 basis points (1.2 percentage points) since January. In addition, it has increased 503 basis points from the low of 72.1% set in January 2021,” NIC senior principal Bill Kauffman wrote.

“These data points suggest that demand for skilled nursing properties is growing, although staffing shortages continue to limit the ability to admit new residents,” he added. 

A new NIC executive survey of senior housing and skilled nursing operators also found that providers are seeing increased care needs among residents. Move-in acuity has increased for 62% of respondents in nursing care. 

“The shares of organizations reporting acceleration in nursing care move-ins continued to increase — from 21% [per a survey] in January 2022 to 68% [now]. This marks the fourth consecutive wave where the pace of nursing care move-ins has increased from the prior wave,” said NIC senior principal Ryan Brooks.