As many as 7,870 nursing home beds, or almost one third, could be lost as a result of new standards and infection control measures.
This is happening at a time when Ireland's population will need 7,500 new nursing home beds by 2026, according to a report from property advisors CBRE.
Only 935 new beds have been delivered in recent years. And only 1,144 beds are expected to be provided in the next few years in developments currently under construction.
CBRE notes that a combination of rising building costs and the 2016 standards being enforced by Hiqa may severely impact the viability of some new developments.
CBRE calls for construction costs to become more affordable by improving designs and legislation, increased Fair Deal rates nationwide, and more realistic Hiqa standards around future-proofing and virus-proofing.
It also asks Hiqa to be sympathetic to both new and existing nursing home owners and operators, while respecting the privacy, safety and dignity of residents.
Cormac Megannety of CBRE estimates that around €150m has been invested in new nursing homes since 2018 with 935 new beds.
There are currently 12 nursing homes under construction. These are expected to deliver the 1,144 new beds. Five of these schemes are being built in Dublin.
Planning permission has been granted within the last 24 months for 3,560 beds while a further 1,808 beds are still within the planning system.
In addition, there are 2,183 beds in older planning permissions. This means a total of 7,551 - across 137 nursing home schemes including new developments and extensions - have full planning permission.
Only 45 private and 13 public nursing homes in the whole country have capacity exceeding 100 beds and these can weather changes to the market more easily.
"We would caution, however, that some of the larger public homes' 100-plus capacity is due to many multiple occupancy rooms which will become unviable into the future," Mr Magennety said.
Despite Covid-19, CBRE reports an increased appetite from developers and operators to invest in the nursing home sector.
One of these groups is Aperee, which acquired two nursing homes this year, including Cúil Didín Nursing Home in Tralee, Co Kerry.