Surviving the Occupancy Outlook for Skilled Nursing Communities

Skilled nursing communities provide a much-needed service for thousands of seniors across the country. In fact, when it comes to senior care, nursing homes are perhaps the most necessary of all care communities.

Mom and dad may resist moving to an assisted living community, but a bad fall or failing health will send the adult children searching for a quality nursing home.

It may seem strange that skilled nursing communities face occupancy struggles. However, it’s a real threat, especially if you’re a small- or mid-sized operator.

According to data from the American Health Care Association, occupancy tends to be lower for smaller skilled nursing communities. Below are recent statistics they’ve published:

  • For communities with a daily census of 30 or less, average occupancy was 54%.
  • For communities with a daily census of 31-50, average occupancy was 73%.
  • For communities with a daily census of 51-100, average occupancy was 80%.
  • For communities with daily census of more than 100, average occupancy was 87%.

Running a mid-sized operation doesn’t necessarily create lower occupancy, but if your community has less beds, you’re more likely to struggle to fill them and generate strong revenue.

The Occupancy Outlook for Skilled Nursing Communities

As you strive to grow your net operating income, you may wonder what the future holds for your occupancy.

According a recent article from Senior Housing News, there’s no guarantee that your challenges to net up and grow will significantly improve.

In the article, Senior Housing News provides an analysis of a report published by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC). This report examined over 1,400 skilled nursing communities nationwide and demonstrates how skilled nursing occupancy has only traveled lower. As of September 2016, occupancy is just 82.5%.

Senior Housing News quotes NIC’s senior principal Bill Kauffman as saying that occupancy is stable, but…

“The question is, is that going to hold? It will be interesting to see over the next few quarters.”

What These Stats Mean for You

The current state of occupancy for skilled nursing communities—and Kauffman’s doubts about the future—may concern Senior Living operators looking to fill beds and grow their revenue.

When you can’t predict the future, you can take steps to master what you can control for occupancy growth: how well your community turns prospects into move-ins.

Converting inquiries and on-site community tours into signed leases is just as important as monitoring the clinical care your nursing home offers.

If you want to survive the threat of weak occupancy and avoid leaving money on the table, improve how your sales department generates revenue when you…

#1 Change how your sales team responds to inquiries. You’ll want to ensure they are asking the right questions and are building the emotional connection with a potential resident or the adult children.

#2 Carefully plan how your sales team conducts on-site tours. It’s vital that your sales representatives demonstrate how your nursing home will ease the minds of the decision makers and meet the needs of mom or dad.

#3 Establish a system that ensures your team follows up after any outreach. If you want to move the needle on occupancy, you’ll need powerful follow-up systems.

#4 Involve your operational directors so they monitor the execution of your sales department and your clinical staff so they fully support your sales-centered culture. (You may be surprised that I’ve included operational and clinical departments. To read about why it’s so important to involve your operational and clinical staff, check out this report Bild & Company recently published.)

Driving revenue for skilled nursing facilities in the face of an uncertain occupancy outlook is easier when you equip all staff with proven, metric-based sales systems.

Give your community the sales training that drives revenue and helps you profit when your industry slumps. Simply shoot me an email at tbild@bildandco.com or text 813-390-3349 with your name and number to discuss sales training for your team.

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