Managing a bah humbug holiday season

By now many of us have viewed the viral video of residents gleefully shooting soft foam balls at laughing staff members dressed as reindeer dodging through a pine-tree “forest.” It’s the kind of merriment suitable for the 2020 holidays — one that uses humor and playful defiance to release pent-up frustrations. Under normal circumstances, spending … Read more

Fostering post-traumatic growth in long-term care

The COVID-19 pandemic has been taxing for virtually everyone in long-term care, from the C-suite to direct care providers. I’ve written about my own experience with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after working in a pandemic epicenter earlier in the year. While crises often have short- and long-term negative effects, psychologists have found that there also … Read more

From blame to education: Rethinking the nursing home survey process

The treatment team sat around the table calculating the approximate arrival date of the surveyors based on rumors, past years’ experience, and sightings from colleagues at other facilities in the city.  “If they approach you,” the director of nursing advised, “try not to say too much.” The young social worker remarked, “If I see them … Read more

Geropsychology in the News

Nursing homes and eldercare have been in the news more frequently recently and I’ve had several opportunities to contribute a psychological perspective. Scripps National News: Washington Post: With video calls and an army of volunteers, this 15-year-old is battling pandemic loneliness in nursing homes Chicago Tribune: Nursing home staffers face stress and their own COVID-19 … 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

Free webinar 10/28 10:30am ET: Dr. El on Psychological Hardships of COVID-19

Next Wednesday, October 28th, McKnight’s free Online Forum will focus on the impact of COVID-19. Join me at 10:30am ET for “Coping with the psychological hardships of COvID-19 on staff, residents and families.” The afternoon session will address reimbursement issues. For more information and the registration link, visit:  McKnight’s Online Forum arrives Wednesday — 2 … Read more

Contending with employees’ pandemic-related stress

In “Keeping workers will be biggest struggle for nursing homes as pandemic persists, national policy expert predicts,” McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Staff Writer Danielle Brown reports on the staffing problems outlined by Harvard Medical School health care policy professor David Grabowski, Ph.D. He anticipates that, because of a lack of support, direct caregivers will leave … Read more

McDonald’s versus long-term care: How nursing homes can compete for staff

Recent calls1, 2, 3 for an increase in nursing staff levels may have providers wondering how to accomplish this. Under normal circumstances it can be challenging to find qualified individuals; the pandemic has added an off-putting level of danger to nursing home work. Two webinars hosted by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News last week offer clues … Read more

Clinical considerations when the census is low

COVID-19 has negatively affected the ability of many long-term care facilities to maintain a full census. Less frequent elective surgeries, fewer rehab cases and more empty beds make it harder to be selective about which patients are admitted, impacting not just the financial case mix, but also the clinical mix. A low census leads to … Read more