Bridging the disconnect between leaders and workers

As I reviewed the many recent long-term care happenings and articles to select a topic for this week’s blog, my mind kept returning to the fascinating column by researchers Lindsey Creapeau and Jennifer Johs-Artisensi, “Nursing assistants’ perspective holds the key to solving your staffing woes.” Their study asked nursing home administrators, directors of nursing and … Read more

A conversation about mental health in LTC

I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently by Susan Ryan, senior director of The Green House Project, for her Elevate Eldercare podcast. As I remarked to her, what could be better than talking with someone kind and knowledgeable about something I’ve been obsessed with for more than 20 years? We spoke about the experiences … Read more

Antipsychotic medication reduction and the severely mentally ill population

President Biden’s State of the Union address last week targeted several aspects of the long-term care industry, most of which have received more attention than his mention of reducing the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications. As a long-term care psychologist who has closely observed the trend of increasing numbers of residents with severe mental illness … Read more

Strategies to improve workforce participation

With worker shortages at critical levels, long-term care leaders are undoubtedly looking for creative solutions to their staffing woes. There have been excellent suggestions from within the LTC world, but I recently came upon a journal article from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that outlined short-term strategies in the general workforce that … Read more

The exhaustion epidemic

I was tempted to listen to the STAT News event, “The exhaustion epidemic: Examining the COVID-19 burnout crisis in health care,” while lying prone on the couch. Instead, I took notes and considered how this hospital-heavy analysis might apply to the long-term care industry. Two physicians, one nurse and one psychiatrist/researcher discussed at length how … Read more

How to create an environment that reduces turnover

As I stated in my last column, improving the emotional tenor of the facility can decrease staff turnover. In this piece, I’ll offer additional ideas to achieve that goal. Most organizations have a consulting psychologist on the team who can spearhead or contribute to the recommendations below. Psychologists are capable of far more than providing … Read more

Turnover reporting: This is going to be good*

Late last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that they will begin to post staff turnover data on the Care Compare website. In July, turnover will be incorporated into the Five Star Quality Rating calculations. While this is bound to cause immediate alarm among providers, in the long run this is a … Read more

The path forward for long-term care

With staffing shortages, reduced occupancy, the ongoing pandemic and other challenges, it’s a worrisome time for long-term care. A scan of trade headlines might even make one pessimistic about the future of the industry. Despite these difficulties, dedicated, thoughtful professionals — from LTC leaders to researchers to regulators to front line staff — are endeavoring … Read more

If you give the staff a livable wage…

The longstanding story of long-term care staffing is that organizations can’t afford to increase the salaries of their workers due to Medicaid reimbursement deficits, rising expenses, tight margins and other fiscal hurdles. As we’ve seen during the pandemic, however, low-paid direct-care staff often supported themselves by working at multiple facilities, leading to increased infection rates … Read more

Boosting team resilience

It’s no secret that many long-term care staffers are grappling with feelings of stress and burnout following their pandemic experiences. Burnout affects workers on a personal level, and it can also impact the functioning of teams. Researchers distinguish between “brittle” and “resilient” teams. Brittle teams have drained tangible or emotional resources after a crisis, with … Read more