Secret shoppers in LTC

Secret shoppers in LTC Posing as customers, “secret shoppers” deliver the inside scoop to management about their experiences with various service providers. They can be invaluable to management in all kinds of situations, including long-term care, though there are special challenges there. Secret shoppers are perhaps best known for retail settings. But they’re also used … Read more

NextAvenue: What Some Nursing Homes Do to Retain Quality Staff

Thank you to author Deborah Quilter and NextAvenue for an even-handed article about nursing homes and for mentioning my work. NextAvenue is “public media’s first and only national journalism service for America’s booming older population. [Their] daily content delivers vital ideas, context and perspectives on issues that matter most as we age.” What Some Nursing … Read more

Transitioning to Long-Term Care: What Your Loved One Wishes They Could Tell You

As a psychologist, I’ve talked with hundreds of residents as they transition to living in a Skilled Nursing Care center. In the privacy of a psychotherapy session, new residents will frequently share with me things they haven’t mentioned to their families, often because they don’t quite know what to say or how to say it. … Read more

Dr. El’s Theory of Angry Activities

“Scream as loud as you can,” I encouraged my companions before we plunged down the waterslide in our rubber raft at the water park on Independence Day. “There aren’t enough opportunities for yelling in everyday life. Let’s make the most of it while it’s socially acceptable.” The shouts of our foursome pierced the air as … Read more

Dr. El’s ‘Quality of Life’ star ratings are the way to go

The Nursing Home Compare star rating system assesses quality of care based on health inspections, staffing and quality of resident care measures. It examines important factors such as emergency preparedness, resident/staff ratios, re-hospitalization rates, falls and antipsychotic use. After writing about turnover in my last column, I wondered what might happen if high marks were … Read more

Relationships key to long-term care success

Long-term care success is about steady, reliable relationships. That’s my takeaway after attending two recent conferences that echo my experiences in the field. The first event delivered the results thus far of an ongoing program that won a coveted grant from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Center for Innovation. The OPTIMISTIC project is … Read more

Ways to increase trust, reduce hospital transfers

In McKnight’s Long-Term Care News this month, there was a report on a study examining factors that contribute to transfers of frail residents from skilled nursing facilities to emergency departments. Using focus groups of residents and family caregivers, researchers found four main contributors to the transfers: “(1) doubts about the quality of skilled care facility nurses’ assessments; (2) perceptions … Read more