Net operating income continues to face pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, with more organizations than ever offering rent concessions, paying staff members overtime hours and using agency or temp staff to backfill staffing shortages. That’s according to data collected from the most recent Executive Survey conducted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care. 

The share of organizations offering rent concessions has hit 63%, up from 51% just weeks ago, and almost nine out of 10 organizations (87%) are paying overtime wages. In addition, fewer move-ins, coupled with attrition and transfers to higher levels of care, are putting pressure on business operations.

The latest survey — Wave 17 — included responses collected Nov. 30 to Dec. 13 from owners and executives across 80 senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities.

Another survey found that staffing continues to be a growing challenge for many operators, particularly within skilled nursing facilities. “Having enough staff” was the nearly unanimous top fear for nursing homes heading into 2021, according to the results of a new McKnight’s Long-Term Care News survey released Wednesday. Fully 88% of survey respondents picked staffing shortages as one of their four biggest concerns for the coming year.

One respondent to NIC’s latest executive survey noted that with the surge of recent COVID-19 cases and the resulting second wave of infections, the respondent’s organization is experiencing distress in finding labor at “double-time wages.” 

NIC also found that reports of decelerations in the pace of move-ins slightly outpaced accelerations in independent living, assisted living and memory care, and decelerations continued to significantly outpace accelerations in move-ins in the nursing care segment, as has been the case since approximately mid-October. The shares of organizations reporting an acceleration in the pace of move-ins in the past 30 days for the independent living, assisted living and memory care segments remained at or around their lowest levels since early June.

“The pace of move-ins continued to be sluggish in Wave 17 with more survey respondents reporting declines in occupancy rates than increases in occupancy for each of the four care segments,” said Lana Peck, senior principal at NIC, adding that “fewer organizations cited stronger resident demand as a factor influencing the pace of move-ins.”