Spending pressures overtake labor issues as top challenge for operators: NIC

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According to the results of a new survey from the National Investment Center for Housing and Aged Care, released Thursday, the increase in operating expenses is outpacing staffing issues.

Although labor issues remain a challenge for operators – particularly recruitment (80%) and turnover (80%) – they take a back seat to the cost of doing business, as 86% of survey respondents NIC Executive Survey Insights Wave 44 survey cited operating expenses as a top concern. This percentage is up from the 80% of respondents citing operating expenses as a top challenge in Wave 41 survey responses.

Other key challenges faced by operators include low occupancy rates (41%), limited admissions due to staffing levels (22%) and new competition (12%).

A ‘promising sign of relief’

But in what NIC Senior Director Ryan Brooks calls a “promising sign of relief”, 14% of those surveyed said they expected staffing issues to improve in the second half, while 47% expect improvements in the first half of next year. . However, one in four respondents said they expect staffing issues will not ease until 2024 or beyond.

Almost all respondents (96%) said they paid overtime and 74% said they still used agency or temporary staff. Of those using agency or temporary staff, 55% said they did not expect their reliance on agency or temporary staff to change in the second half of the year, and 37% said expect a decrease.

The pace of moving in is accelerating for some

On the occupancy front, some operators have reported an increase moves.

An equal number of self-contained residence operators (46%) reported an acceleration in the pace of move-ins or no change in the past 30 days. That amount compares to just 31% of independent residence operators reporting an acceleration in move-ins in Wave 43.

Assisted living operators have had a similar experience, with 45% of operators reporting either an acceleration or no change in move-ins. This amount is down from Wave 43, in which 50% of operators reported an increase in move-ins.

In the area of ​​memory care, 32% of respondents reported an increase in moving in – up from 48% in Wave 43 – while 53% reported no change.

A slowdown in lead conversions and sales was the top reason cited for a slowdown in move-ins (64%), followed by concerns from residents or family members (21%).

The pace of departures remained virtually unchanged for the majority of independent living and memory care operators (79% each) as well as assisted living operators (66%).

Wave 44 included responses provided from July 25 to August 21 by owners and leaders of senior living and skilled nursing organizations.

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