Lana Peck headshot

Skilled nursing occupancy has “taken a jolt” in the past 30 days, according to National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Senior Principal Lana Peck said, citing results of Wave 32 of the organization’s executive survey.

Forty percent of survey respondents with nursing care beds said that occupancy had declined from Aug. 6 to Sept. 6, she wrote in a Thursday post.

Approximately 45% to 55% of survey respondents with independent living, assisted living and/or memory care units reported an increase in occupancy across their portfolios of properties in the past 30 days, but only about one-third saw an increase in nursing care occupancy. This amount is down significantly from the Wave 30 survey, where 75% of SNFs reported increased occupancy. Additionally, 20% of SNF respondents reported a decline in occupancy of three percentage points or more.

The dip comes after four months of reported occupancy increases among SNFs.

“Whether or not the pattern of declining occupancy rates will continue to trend is uncertain until the delta variant spread is muted by increasing vaccinations and natural immunity from prior infection,” Peck wrote.

The previous several months’ trend of accelerated move-ins has stalled due to the spread of the delta variant,  primarily among the unvaccinated, NIC discovered.

Approximately 25% of the Wave 32 respondents with assisted living units and/or skilled nursing beds, and about 20% with memory care units, indicated a slow-down of move-ins across their properties between Aug. 6 and Sept. 6, according to the survey. Fifty-nine percent of responding organizations with independent living residences, however, reported no change in the pace of move-ins.