Dr. El’s Shrinky LTC Fantasy

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:


Dr. El’s Shrinky LTC Fantasy

I hung up the phone with the managed care case reviewer. The patient in question was in her late 50s, with multiple sclerosis and other physical problems that had unexpectedly interfered with her ability to return home or even to sit comfortably in a wheelchair. Bed-bound, she was irritable with the staff and distressed about the changes in her life, and in financial circumstances that had resulted in this new insurance coverage.

“You can see her for another 30 days,” the case reviewer told me. “After that, I’ll have to send it to a second level review.”

I sat at the desk in the administration office, hyperventilating. What else would need to happen to this resident in order to get more than a month of treatment? An amputation? The death of her only child?

I took my mind to a better place:

I was in my office at the rehabilitation and care center reviewing the psychology calendar for the month:

• This week I’d shadow the east wing staff and focus on team building.

• My weekly open office hours with the staff had several appointments already filled to discuss conflicts with coworkers, finding better ways to interact with a difficult resident, and how an otherwise excellent worker could get to work on time.

• The topic for the August family group meeting was set: How to partner with the staff.

• The monthly staff training topic was planned to coordinate: How to work with families. Other trainings I had in mind were on facing challenges such as aggressive residents, understanding mental illness, dementia without medication and team management of end-of-life care, in addition to handling work/life balance, reducing stress, time management, and coping with loss.

• The data collection for my research project was progressing nicely. Copies of my book, “The Savvy Resident’s Guide,” had been distributed to the recreation therapists, who were using them to run discussion groups with the residents based on chapter topics such as “Working with the staff” and “Making the most of rehabilitation.” Residents were being measured on acquired knowledge, level of anxiety, conflicts with staff and participation in rehab.

For the entire article, visit:

Dr. El’s Shrinky LTC Fantasy

Dr. El

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