Once upon a time, before profit ruled the land, there were missions

In the old days, Young Readers, before the goal of eldercare was merely profit, nursing homes used to have things called “missions.” Missions focused on the well-being of the elders they cared for — not only their physical well-being but also their emotional and spiritual health. Back then, facilities often catered to a specific clientele, … Read more

My look: Forever changed by the pandemic?

For my first 20-plus years as a long-term care psychologist, I arrived on the job wearing not just clothes, but outfits. I chose garb that contributed to the sense of “expertness, attractiveness, and trustworthiness” that psychologists were supposed to engender in their patients. Sometimes I wore pantsuits or dresses, more often skirts or slacks with … Read more

5 strategies to promote mental health in long-term care

Last week, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka chose to forgo mandatory but anxiety-producing post-event press interviews to protect her mental health. She was fined $15,000 by tennis officials and, after being threatened with expulsion from the French Open, withdrew from the event. This decision by the world’s highest-paid female athlete has thrust the importance of emotional … Read more

Post-pandemic population may require higher staffing levels

Before the pandemic, residents were admitted for rehabilitation following elective surgery or a health crisis. The rehab residents either returned home or joined the group of long-term residents who had previously arrived in a similar fashion. Now, as the threat of COVID-19 recedes from long-term care, we are left with empty beds from a reduction … Read more

5 ways to reduce late-pandemic staff burnout

Most residents and workers are vaccinated and COVID-19 rates in nursing homes have plummeted, so everything should be great, right? According to a recent article in StatNews, not quite. In “As the Covid-19 crisis ebbs in the U.S., experts brace for some to experience psychological fallout,” author Andrew Joseph reports that it’s only after an … Read more

The pandemic narrative, a tool for mental health

In my last two columns, I’ve focused on a “big picture” view of eldercare. This week, I’m highlighting a way in which individuals can mend their mental health after an extremely difficult year, particularly for those of us in the field of long-term care. Chances are that it’s been a tense, stressful, sad time both … Read more

Rethinking quality care: A long-term care psychologist’s perspective

Quality care is often considered from a medical perspective, with the focus on providing the best possible medical services. This is, of course, an essential element of the services provided in long-term care. But at a time when there’s a greater push for community care over nursing and rehabilitation centers, it’s worth rethinking what quality … Read more

A conversation with ‘superhero’ health policy researcher David Grabowski

For a fascinating close-up of the impact of policy decisions on individuals and teams, I step onto the nursing home unit. For a fascinating zoom-out of the impact of policy decisions on the healthcare system in general, I follow the Twitter feed of David Grabowski, Ph.D., professor of health policy research at Harvard Medical School. … Read more

Anticipating anniversary reactions

The coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic one year ago this month. The news is filled with articles reflecting on the dramatic changes in our lives from last year to this — lost jobs, remote school, canceled events, illness. For those in long-term care, this week last year began the pandemic visitor restrictions, and for … Read more