The pandemic narrative, a tool for mental health

In my last two columns, I’ve focused on a “big picture” view of eldercare. This week, I’m highlighting a way in which individuals can mend their mental health after an extremely difficult year, particularly for those of us in the field of long-term care. Chances are that it’s been a tense, stressful, sad time both … Read more

Rethinking quality care: A long-term care psychologist’s perspective

Quality care is often considered from a medical perspective, with the focus on providing the best possible medical services. This is, of course, an essential element of the services provided in long-term care. But at a time when there’s a greater push for community care over nursing and rehabilitation centers, it’s worth rethinking what quality … Read more

A conversation with ‘superhero’ health policy researcher David Grabowski

For a fascinating close-up of the impact of policy decisions on individuals and teams, I step onto the nursing home unit. For a fascinating zoom-out of the impact of policy decisions on the healthcare system in general, I follow the Twitter feed of David Grabowski, Ph.D., professor of health policy research at Harvard Medical School. … Read more

Anticipating anniversary reactions

The coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic one year ago this month. The news is filled with articles reflecting on the dramatic changes in our lives from last year to this — lost jobs, remote school, canceled events, illness. For those in long-term care, this week last year began the pandemic visitor restrictions, and for … Read more

We’re vaccinated. Now what?

Across the country, long-term care facilities are vaccinating their staff and residents, with approximately 3.1 million dosesdelivered as of last week and rates of COVID-19 infection in nursing home residents declining for the past four weeks. This excellent news leads to questions about how the vaccination rollout will impact the daily lives of staff and … Read more

The Equalizer: A holiday story from the ‘Before’ time

Louise, a petite, 79-year-old woman, was the roommate of another resident I was seeing for psychotherapy at the nursing home. Louise sat by the B bed watching TV and working her needlepoint, anchoring the tapestry frame against her chest with one arm while she slowly pushed the needle through with her good hand. “Hello! Please … Read more

Managing a bah humbug holiday season

By now many of us have viewed the viral video of residents gleefully shooting soft foam balls at laughing staff members dressed as reindeer dodging through a pine-tree “forest.” It’s the kind of merriment suitable for the 2020 holidays — one that uses humor and playful defiance to release pent-up frustrations. Under normal circumstances, spending … Read more