The Goodbye Guide: Why and how to terminate tenderly in LTC

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


The Goodbye Guide: Why and how to terminate tenderly in LTC

An experienced colleague was recently let go from her job to which she’d been dedicated for 10 years. “We want to take things in a different direction,” she was told by the administrator. “Pack up your office and go.”

An hour later, she was in the parking lot holding a box containing a photo of her kids and mementoes of a decade as head of the social service department. Her replacement started two days later.

There are, of course, occasions when people who are fired or otherwise are terminating employment and need to be escorted from the building. But many workers are career professionals who wouldn’t consider burning bridges with bad behavior. Despite this, I’ve witnessed hasty dismissals and hushed resignations on multiple occasions throughout my career.

Sometimes, departing coworkers will tell me they didn’t want to let anyone know they were leaving because they didn’t want to deal with the residents’ being upset.

In my training to become a psychologist, we spent a great deal of time discussing endings and termination of treatment. While work in long-term care isn’t necessarily a psychotherapeutic relationship, I believe leave-takings in LTC are more important than in other settings and that the style of departure should be given more consideration.

Here are some aspects to consider:

• Due to the nature of the work, staff members form deep relationships over time with the residents and their families. When we depart, it matters to them.

• Because we work with elders and those who are ill, people are constantly leaving — through death, discharges, and hospital transfers — often suddenly and without the chance to say goodbye. This can create small traumas. In compassionately addressing our departures, we have the opportunity to reduce the amount of trauma in the lives of our residents rather than contribute to it.

For the entire article, visit:

The Goodbye Guide: Why and how to terminate tenderly in LTC


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