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

BBB Act provides opportunity to address LTC mental health needs

In my last blog post, “Boosting team resilience,” I briefly touched upon the need to recognize the pandemic-related trauma experienced by staff members and to better prepare for future catastrophes. The potential passage of the Build Back Better Act, with “roughly $150 billion to boost HCBS under Medicaid and $329 million in grant funding for … 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

Ageism in LTC

As I listened last week to a web event on confronting ageism in healthcare, I found myself nodding in agreement with the participants, who were all themselves nodding at the comments of their collaborators. The conversation, presented by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Kaiser Health News and The John A. Hartford Foundation, was led by KHN’s … Read more

How to give feedback that gets results

Whether coaching supervisors on leadership skills or teaching employees to follow proper infection control procedures, the way in which feedback is offered can have an enormous impact on how it’s received and whether it’s implemented. In “Constructive criticism that works,” author Heather Stringer outlines psychological techniques that “increase the odds that feedback will lead to … Read more

We need staff… NOW

Last year, as the pandemic raged in New York City and sirens filled the air, a group of young travel nurses arrived to assist weary long-term care teams. They took over nursing stations that had been depleted due to positive COVID tests and allowed healthy staffers working doubles to get some rest. They gave us … Read more

Reducing the impact of cascading collective trauma in LTC

I spent most of last weekend doing what I could to avoid the 9/11-related headlines in the news. With my Manhattan-below-14th-Street recollections of the event, last year’s immersion in the pandemic epicenter and the continuing pandemic, I didn’t have the bandwidth for it. What I did find the energy for was a Speaking of Psychology … Read more

How to keep working in LTC (when you’re not sure how much more you can take)

When I speak to long-term care groups, whether to those in leadership positions or to direct care staff, it’s clear that virtually all the audience members have been drawn to the industry because of their love of elders. The travails of the past year and a half, however, have likely depleted the energy and enthusiasm … Read more

Staff‌ ‌recruitment,‌ ‌retention,‌ ‌upskilling‌ ‌and‌ ‌savings‌

As the editors of the June 2021 volume of The Gerontologist put it, “Workforce issues are the most significant challenges facing the long-term care industry.” This special edition of the journal focuses on the long-term care workforce, examining factors that increase staff retention and mining the circumstances of the pandemic for clues to stabilizing the … Read more