In First Full Month of COVID-19 Data, Skilled Nursing Occupancy Drops to 84.7%

The stabilized occupancy rate for nursing care fell sharply in April due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a snapshot from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) released on Tuesday.

Nursing care occupancy last month dropped 220 basis points to 84.7% from March to April in NIC’s selection of primary markets, with the decline reflecting the effects of COVID-19.

The group defined stabilized occupancy as “the occupancy rate of properties that are at least two years old, or if less than two years old, have achieved occupancy of at least 95% since their opening.”

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The drop in senior housing, though not as large, was still significant; Stabilized occupancy in that type of residence dropped 110 basis points to 88.7% in the primary markets.

The data came from NIC’s “Intra-Quarterly Snapshot,” which is designed to boost transparency and help produce a better understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release announcing the numbers; NIC has typically released quarterly occupancy data only.

“Some of the sharp decline in skilled nursing occupancy is likely driven by fewer hospitals discharging patients to post-acute care settings for rehabilitative therapy as hospitals defer elective surgeries due to the pandemic,” NIC chief economist Beth Burnham Mace said in the release.

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