The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes (McKnight’s LTC News)

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


 The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes

I watched with dismay as the nurse abruptly moved a table in front of a confused and agitated resident trying to leave the dining room. “Sit down!” she told him in a stern voice. “Dinner will be here in an hour!”

Those of us in long-term care have undoubtedly witnessed similar incidents where residents become agitated and staff members don’t have the tools to prevent or manage their distress. Psychologists — who could offer such tools — are largely limited in the current reimbursement model to providing individual services to cognitively intact residents.

Using mental health expertise

The Eldercare Method, developed by psychologist Kelly O’Shea Carney, PhD, CMC, executive director at the Phoebe Center for Excellence in Dementia Care in Pennsylvania, harnesses the training of mental health professionals to successfully address the gap between what’s known in the mental health world about how to handle challenging behaviors and how they’re often managed in long-term care.

The method uses interdisciplinary teams facilitated by mental health professionals (psychologists and licensed clinical social workers) to examine the causes of resident distress and to identify ways to prevent it. Team members include representatives from the nursing department and other direct care staff such as dietary, housekeeping, and aides.

Needs assessment

The first step in the Eldercare Method is to assess the overall behavioral health needs of the facility and to establish training programs and annual service goals. This dramatically increases the focus on behavioral health as compared to facilities that provide behavioral health training sporadically, often after an incident occurs, missing the opportunity to prevent problems on an ongoing basis.

For the entire article, visit:

 The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes

Dr Carney-8004
Kelly O’Shea Carney, PhD, CMC


4 thoughts on “The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes (McKnight’s LTC News)”

  1. What would you do in the following situations?
    Mrs ,Hayes needs to be transferred to her wheelchair to go the dinning room for dinner ,but she does not want to go, When you try transfer her ,she slaps your hands,

    • Hi Penny, it’s not too surprising that a resident would slap the hands of someone who tried to transfer her against her wishes. If I were in that situation, I’d try to find out why Mrs. Hayes didn’t want to go to the dining room — maybe she isn’t feeling well or has some pain that makes transferring uncomfortable. Perhaps you’ll be able to identify and solve a problem that will allow her to go to the dining room willingly, or maybe you can allow her to have her meal in her room that evening.

  2. What would you do in the following situations?
    Mr Rodriquez is mentally ill ,When you enter his room to give him a bath He says” Who are you ? what are you doing here ,I Don’t know you.

    • Hi Penny, in this situation I’d probably explain to Mr. Rodriquez who I was and that I was there to help him, even if I’d explained it many times before. To him, I’m a new person. I’d also let the nurse and other team members know if it was a new or unusual behavior for him because it could be a sign of a problem that needs medical or psychiatric attention.


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