What if nursing homes had a ‘well-being budget’?

Last week, New Zealand passed the country’s first “well-being budget,” with billions in funding directed towards mental health, suicide prevention, addiction treatment and combatting poverty. This development had me considering what a “well-being budget” would look like in long-term care facilities. Reducing financial hardship Combating poverty in nursing homes would have to address adequately funding … Read more

How to support depressed workers and reduce absenteeism

As a consulting psychologist, my official job is to provide psychological services to the residents of the nursing homes in which I work. Occasionally, though, I’m asked by a department head to informally assist a staff member in distress and, more frequently, a teammate comes to me for a referral for herself or a family … Read more

Severely mentally ill residents: A ‘perfect storm’ creates a SNF wave

Long-term care facilities are admitting more residents with longstanding psychiatric illnesses. Such individuals enter the nursing home for physical rehabilitation but are difficult to discharge back to the community due to their mental health needs, weak or nonexistent support networks and unstable prior housing situations. This column focuses on why the severely mentally ill (SMI) … Read more

12 steps to starting a new job with serenity

In my last column, “How to quit like a shrink,” I outlined ways to exit a nursing home that solidify the connections made there and offer the opportunity for healing. Assuming you’re not independently wealthy, what follows after leaving one position is beginning another. The start of a new job, while exciting and hopeful, also … Read more

Calming fears of floods and other catastrophes

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Calming fears of floods and other catastrophes By now it’s likely that you, your staff, the residents and their families have seen the incredibly disturbing photo of assisted living residents in Dickinson, TX, sitting in waist-high floodwaters. Thankfully, all the older women in the picture have … Read more

Suicide prevention in the workplace: What employers need to know

With the high-profile deaths this month of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain, the crisis of suicide has been thrust into the spotlight. Suicide deaths in the United States have increased 25% between 1999 and 2016, with an estimated 45,000 occurring per year. I’ve written about suicide prevention in older adults and protocols for … Read more