Reflecting on injustices in LTC

In the last few weeks, mass protests against racism have led to wider recognition of racial injustices in our country, with alterations in policing procedures, removal of Confederate statues and a rethinking of corporate norms. I’ve been reading about the systemic inequities in healthcare and reflecting on those in long-term care in particular. While I … Read more

Re-envisioning long-term care: A psychologist’s perspective

The pandemic has caused many of us to reflect on our lives, work and priorities. It’s also led to catastrophic losses and to greater public awareness of problems in our field. In the mental health world, we encourage people to try to learn and grow from tragedy. I hope we in the long-term care world … Read more

The Nursing Home Podcast: Discussing the Impact of Covid-19

I took off my PPE mid-day last week to have an interesting LinkedIn Live talk with Shmuel Septimus of The Nursing Home Podcast. We discussed mental health, the impact of Covid-19 on nursing facilities, the need for LTC leaders to garner community support for their beleaguered staff members and why I like my job so … 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

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

The added value of social workers and psychosocial services

The top recommendation in the April 9 McKnight’s article “Researchers share 6 tips to improve nursing home care for blacks and Latinos” was to include a social worker on staff in the facility. “Great,” a reader commented, but “ask CMS … if they will pay for it.” Perhaps, though better yet, social workers will pay … Read more

Taking teamwork to a deeper level

When we think of teamwork in long-term care, we envision a group of dedicated specialists working together to provide the best care for our residents. They read notes from other disciplines, bounce ideas off colleagues at the nursing station and convene care plan meetings. In reality, teamwork in long-term care is much more complex. Teamwork … Read more