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

Act now to avert a holiday season fiasco

The holidays are typically a busy time for long-term care centers, filled with special activities and extra visitors. Because of the pandemic, this year will be much different. Planning, collaboration, creativity and communication will be needed to create reasonable alternatives to usual events. Take action now to avoid a season of putting out the fires … Read more

Increasing the positive visibility of long-term care

Prior to COVID-19, nursing homes were almost exclusively seen by the public as grim places to be avoided. People didn’t want to “end up” there, family members usually exhausted all possible avenues of care prior to admission, and sometimes relatives didn’t visit because they found it “too depressing.” Yet we in the field know the … Read more

A look at Germany’s intriguing long-term care system

I was in Berlin, Germany, last week and did some research into their long-term care system during my visit. I was curious about how it might be different or similar to ours, given the country’s national healthcare program. Briefly, the German system has public and private healthcare insurance options and 100% of the population has … Read more

Why Five-Star ratings should measure staff retention, not staff ratios

The Five-Star Quality Rating System reports the results of health inspections, staffing and quality measures. I suggest we replace the current staffing measure with one tracking staff retention. Here’s my logic: The existing staffing score is the ratio of nursing staff to residents, taking care needs into account. In allowing for self-reporting of the data, … Read more

On power, teamwork and communication

Having enough of it at work, I tend to avoid drama in my entertainment choices unless it involves aliens or post-apocalyptic nonsense. My family and I are currently enjoying the creative spectacle of Project Runway “Teams” version from a few seasons ago. In it, the judges of the clothing design competition repeatedly make the point … Read more

Self-disclosure: What your staff needs to know about revealing personal information to residents

As “Eileen” suggested in the comments section of a recent “Dr. El” blog, disclosing personal information can be a good way to establish a more intimate connection with residents. While self-disclosure can create warmer relationships, there also can be unintended and unwanted consequences to revealing such details. In contrast to psychologists who study interpersonal interactions … Read more