My look: Forever changed by the pandemic?

For my first 20-plus years as a long-term care psychologist, I arrived on the job wearing not just clothes, but outfits. I chose garb that contributed to the sense of “expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthiness” that psychologists were supposed to engender in their patients. Sometimes I wore pantsuits or dresses, more often skirts or slacks with … Read more

5 strategies to promote mental health in long-term care

Last week, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka chose to forgo mandatory but anxiety-producing post-event press interviews to protect her mental health. She was fined $15,000 by tennis officials and, after being threatened with expulsion from the French Open, withdrew from the event. This decision by the world’s highest-paid female athlete has thrust the importance of emotional … Read more

Post-pandemic population may require higher staffing levels

Before the pandemic, residents were admitted for rehabilitation following elective surgery or a health crisis. The rehab residents either returned home or joined the group of long-term residents who had previously arrived in a similar fashion. Now, as the threat of COVID-19 recedes from long-term care, we are left with empty beds from a reduction … Read more

5 ways to reduce late-pandemic staff burnout

Most residents and workers are vaccinated and COVID-19 rates in nursing homes have plummeted, so everything should be great, right? According to a recent article in StatNews, not quite. In “As the Covid-19 crisis ebbs in the U.S., experts brace for some to experience psychological fallout,” author Andrew Joseph reports that it’s only after an … Read more

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

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

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