Insights on family-friendly care from Dr. El — the daughter of a new resident

Insights on family-friendly care from Dr. El — the daughter of a new resident

Due to a series of unfortunate events, both of my previously independent parents were recently injured over the course of five weeks. Here are some thoughts from someone who's seen the long-term care world from both sides now.

On power, teamwork and communication

On power, teamwork and communication

Having enough of it at work, I tend to avoid drama in my entertainment choices unless it involves aliens or post-apocalyptic nonsense. My family and I are currently enjoying the creative spectacle of Project Runway "Teams" version from a few seasons ago.

Enthusiasm and ingenious inventions at the NYC Aging2.0 Global Startup Pitch Event

Enthusiasm and ingenious inventions at the NYC Aging2.0 Global Startup Pitch Event

Moving beyond the development of medical products for seniors, Aging2.0 seeks to facilitate collaborations between senior care providers and entrepreneurs to create products and services that can be integrated into their businesses.

Remember to breathe

Remember to breathe

In order to better face whatever is ahead — and to avoid causing panic in those around us — we can make an effort to be serene and centered. Below are some tried and true calming techniques to help you remain levelheaded despite unnerving times.

Join me for the 'Relaxed Lane' challenge!

Join me for the 'Relaxed Lane' challenge!

Denise B. Scott, president of Drive Consulting, posted an intriguing story on LinkedIn the other day about a Scottish supermarket that partners with Alzheimer Scotland to help those with memory loss. The concept is so simple, easy and kind that I decided to ask my local supermarket if they'd join in.

Correcting long-term care's image problem

Correcting long-term care's image problem

Long-term care has an image problem. For a variety of reasons, we aren't associated with good times. There are things we can do to turn this around, though, starting with the perceptions of our residents.

10 ways to incorporate mood-boosting exercise into LTC

10 ways to incorporate mood-boosting exercise into LTC

Cold weather. An uncertain world. Rogue shrinks making the rest of us caring, diligent professionals look bad. I don't know about you, but I need a mood lifter.

A 'novel-la' way to educate families about dementia

A 'novel-la' way to educate families about dementia

It's easy to become overwhelmed and to have the information presented by a medical professional blur so that it sounds like a Charlie Brown cartoon teacher declaring, "Wa wa wa wa, wa wa wa wa wa wa." I recently learned of a promising program to teach families — particularly Hispanic families — about dementia.

Successful New Year's resolutions, LTC-style

Successful New Year's resolutions, LTC-style

Rather than resolve to do more than I can possibly accomplish, I prefer to view the beginning of the year as a time to examine the course I've been on and to make corrections as needed.

Enhancing the value of LTC by making family visits more rewarding

Enhancing the value of LTC by making family visits more rewarding

Many relatives have no idea how to best engage with their loved one in long-term care. When care providers accept the role of teachers, we can add great value to our services and enhance the experiences of the families who come to us for assistance.

New LTC resources from some of the best

New LTC resources from some of the best

Over the past year, I've been involved with several exciting long-term care-related projects that I can now tell you about. In the spirit of the season, I wanted to spread some good cheer with them, and also offer a gift.

6 steps to manage post-election reactions in LTC

6 steps to manage post-election reactions in LTC

The 2016 presidential election has revealed a deep rift in our country, and quite possibly in our long-term care facilities as well.

Suicide prevention in older adults

Suicide prevention in older adults

In preparing for a webinar on suicide prevention, I came across startling statistics about suicide rates among older adults. Despite the concern we often hear about teen suicide, the rate for elders is even higher.

Playing the LTC lottery

Playing the LTC lottery

After reading a recent New York Times Opinion piece about the uses of lotteries to solve social problems, I began contemplating their potential application to long-term care. An element of fun might be a welcome addition to what's typically a very serious business.

3 surprising reasons to strengthen your resident council

3 surprising reasons to strengthen your resident council

Forget about worries of them eating up staff time or triggering something bad on surveys, resident councils can be awesome for your facility and here's why.

4 ways to find out why your aides are leaving

4 ways to find out why your aides are leaving

Once, when I worked for a managed care company, I rode down a packed elevator with the CEO, who commented drily on the crowd, saying, "It must be 5:01." What I thought, but did not say, was that there were reasons his staff members weren't staying more than a minute past the hour.

To reduce staff turnover, lead with LTC strengths

To reduce staff turnover, lead with LTC strengths

When I spoke about the challenges of staff turnover at the Louisiana Nursing Home Association convention last week, I asked the group, "If you were able to bring in the same salary you were currently making, would you want to have the job of an aide?"

What's all this about PBJ?

What's all this about PBJ?

Why are they keeping track of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I appreciate their concern that residents might have our lunches served late, but what about the tuna fish sandwiches? And the chicken? Doesn't it matter if those are served late as well?

Wisdom from elders

Wisdom from elders

I told residents that I was writing an article on advice from elders about how to live life and their responses were immediate and enthusiastic, as if they'd been waiting for someone to ask.

'Healthwear' and other culture changes

'Healthwear' and other culture changes

When it comes to assistive devices such as canes, walkers, and eyeglasses, it's possible to convert something unappealing yet necessary into an item that bestows confidence, evinces a sense of humor or becomes more useful.

Racism and LTC

Racism and LTC

Given the racial tensions in the news this week, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on interactions among races in long-term care. I've observed firsthand various culturally charged interactions — both positive and negative.

Super-utilizers: LTC has them too

Super-utilizers: LTC has them too

Reducing the costs of long-term care "super-utilizers" first requires recognizing them as such. Then proceed carefully, and with an investigative eye, to increase the likelihood of successfully meeting their needs and decreasing expenses.

From abysmal to mediocre: Encouraging hand hygiene

From abysmal to mediocre: Encouraging hand hygiene

I've become more diligent over the years (read: paranoid) about making an effort to sanitize my hands as I move from room to room. But I wonder about those whose roles in long-term care don't specifically emphasize infection control procedures.

Full code: Discussing advance directives

Full code: Discussing advance directives

Assistance in creating a "good death" is a fundamental task of any organization working with elders and may be addressed by a number of team members singly or in combination. Since these discussions are often easier said than done, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my experiences since I, as a geropsychologist, regularly discuss dying with residents and their families.

Depression - AND its treatments - are fall risks

Depression - AND its treatments - are fall risks

Feeling "down" takes on a wicked double-meaning for some seniors. Even conscientious providers could be unaware of it, let alone know what to do about it.

Creating a dialysis-friendly facility

Creating a dialysis-friendly facility

There is much that can be done to improve the quality of life for dialysis patients at your facility and showcase your facility as dialysis-friendly at the same time. Unfortunately, many providers are not doing all they can to help these people, or boost their own business operations, for that matter..

Dr. El tries on the Genworth aging suit

Dr. El tries on the Genworth aging suit

I had a chance the other day to see what it feels like to be 85 years old, thanks to a test drive of the Genworth R70i Aging Experience suit. Talk about being transported to another world. This is a pure empathy builder.

Help for hoarders, and those who care for them

Help for hoarders, and those who care for them

When it comes to dealing with residents who are hoarders, facilities are often caught between a rock and a hard place. Here's how to deal with it.

Clone this woman. Steal this idea.

Clone this woman. Steal this idea.

"Trudy's here!" exclaimed the resident I'd been speaking with, excusing herself for a moment to exchange a few dollars for a bottle of lotion. "She buys me the things I can't get here. She's a real lifesaver." It was a sentiment I heard echoed by many other residents.

Using light to improve sleep, reduce agitation

Using light to improve sleep, reduce agitation

Research now suggests there may be a solution for residents lacking sleep, experiencing depression or falls, or other certain conditions — and it involves no medication or side effects. The answer could be the use of light.

Upcoming quality initiatives

Upcoming quality initiatives

More quality initiatives are on the horizon for many providers, and they address a wide array of necessary topics. Here are a couple of experts' insights.

'Just a picture of her butt' — an analysis

'Just a picture of her butt' — an analysis

Wondering how an employee could possibly think posting a photo of a resident's behind to social media would be a reasonable action to take, I contacted a psychologist and social media expert.

Dr. El's subversive guide to culture change

Dr. El's subversive guide to culture change

Culture change can be portrayed as many things. One possibility often overlooked is its being a grassroots effort that shifts the dynamics between residents, staff and community, one unit at a time.

'Honest' placebos help without side-effects, expense

'Honest' placebos help without side-effects, expense

Placebos could be a better friend than you realize in the universal quest to reduce the number of medications that elderly patients receive. Don't believe me? Read on. (It won't hurt.)

Growing Good

Growing Good

In the wee hours of the night I recently discovered a Facebook post about a company founded by two brothers called Life is Good. It emerged from the standing request the founders' mother had for them as children in a chaotic home environment: Tell me something good about your day.

The Twelve Days of Christmas in LTC

The Twelve Days of Christmas in LTC

There are many givers in senior care facilities. Sometimes they don't even realize it themselves. This holiday season is a good time to recognize them — and the things that make smiles bright.

7 employee wellness ideas for the holidays (and beyond)

7 employee wellness ideas for the holidays (and beyond)

After a staff training on reducing burnout in long-term care last week, a look through the evaluation forms was illuminating. A significant number of attendees — mostly nursing aides, nurses, and environmental workers — wrote that the most valuable point they got from the training was how important it was to take time for themselves, even if it was for just a few minutes.

Kind words from residents

Kind words from residents

To get us in the spirit of gratitude for Thanksgiving, I've included a sample of grateful comments made by residents to their psychologists. The nice things they say can really make things better.

The secret to LTC success? A focus on well-being

The secret to LTC success? A focus on well-being

Despite the diversity of the events I attended during my brief visit to the LeadingAge convention in Boston last week, a theme clearly emerged. The thread that ran through the varied offerings was well-being

How to find out why your staff is leaving

How to find out why your staff is leaving

Some of the reasons employees leave are beyond our control. But many are not. Here's how to start figuring out how to stop the flow and reduce turnover.

'The Adventures of The Geropsychologist'!

'The Adventures of The Geropsychologist'!

There have been thousands of movies and TV shows about the exciting work of cops, lawyers, and hospitals, but long-term care? Fuhgeddaboutit! Until now.

Behavioral health care — not drugs — for dementia

Behavioral health care — not drugs — for dementia

For the treatments to help dementia patients, turn to behavioral health solutions, not antipsychotic drugs. Just like others around the world.

7 powerful ways to deliver family-centered care

7 powerful ways to deliver family-centered care

When a resident enters long-term care, we tend to focus solely on the needs of the resident, even though they're almost always part of a family system that is being affected by their placement. If we consider that we're admitting families rather than just the residents themselves, we'd recognize the need to provide family-centered care in addition to resident-centered care.

The high cost of rudeness

The high cost of rudeness

Given the stresses of caregiving and the complexities of human relationships, incivility happens. But considering the potential impact of rudeness on care, we need to do more to understand and prevent rudeness when we can. Here's how to start.

Spirituality in long-term care

Spirituality in long-term care

In the beginning of my long-term care career, I quickly recognized that in order to be of service in this environment, I needed to come to a spiritual understanding of how such nice people could be dealing with such difficult illnesses. This was important because psychology graduate school, much like med school classes, definitely had not focused on clients' spiritual needs.

Dr. El's Shrinky LTC Fantasy

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 left her bed-bound. What else would need to happen to get her more than a month of treatment? An amputation? The death of her only child?

Diabetes care: Take two betta fish and call me in a week

Diabetes care: Take two betta fish and call me in a week

These days, with organizations being penalized for rehospitalizations and closely monitored on clinical outcomes, it would probably be very worthwhile to provide a group of elders with some pet fish, food and a tank — along with their own self-care training before discharge or after diagnosis.

Creating better deaths in long-term care

Creating better deaths in long-term care

Residents and their families count on us to support them along the emotional and often frightening path of end-of-life care. We can help our residents have a "good" death and make the experience less painful for their families — and us, as LTC workers.

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

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

I believe leave-takings in long-term care are more important than in other settings and that the style of departure should be given more consideration.

Harnessing gratitude

Harnessing gratitude

Though it was close to 20 years ago, I'll never forget the reaction of one of my patients to losing both of her legs to diabetes. Residents like her make it quite clear that it is possible to be grateful and to live fully, despite disability.

Psychologists open up about LTC sex and dementia

Psychologists open up about LTC sex and dementia

A recent high-profile court case in Iowa highlighted the challenges that arise when considering capacity, sexual activity and the senior living environment. Long-term care psychologists met recently to sort the issues.

The many riches of senior living conferences

The many riches of senior living conferences

I've been fortunate enough to attend several senior living conventions recently and my enthusiasm for the experience has yet to diminish. You would feel the same way, and here's why.

'Okie El' rocks out, and then veges out

'Okie El' rocks out, and then veges out

My first-ever trip to Oklahoma for a speaking engagement recently included no fringed surries. But there was a bustling, well-run long-term conference, animated conversations with attendees, life-altering products in the expo hall and much, much more. Much more.

Loneliness in LTC: Overcoming disability, creating connections

Loneliness in LTC: Overcoming disability, creating connections

Reducing loneliness among facility residents has numerous benefits — for residents and staff. So why aren't we doing better at it? Here's what you need to know.

Dialysis: Gauging its need, and how to reduce its stress

Dialysis: Gauging its need, and how to reduce its stress

As a psychologist observing the effects of medical interventions on the mental health of the long-term care resident, I often ask, "Is this aggressive procedure helping?" As it turns out, so are others.

NET Therapy: Dementia care best practices + Rehab = Success

NET Therapy: Dementia care best practices + Rehab = Success

When I learned about Neurocognitive Engagement Therapy for rehabilitation residents, I had the same reaction I did when I first heard about geriatric emergency rooms: Palm-smack to the forehead, "Why didn't we think of this before?!"

Senior bullying: How to recognize it, how to handle it

Senior bullying: How to recognize it, how to handle it

We've come a long way with many psycho-social problem areas. Children, for example, start learning about bullies in kindergarten. When it comes to bullying in senior communities, though, we're still behind the times.

Reflections after an LTC and senior living summit

Reflections after an LTC and senior living summit

Last week, I delivered a keynote address on "Identifying and Repairing Communication Gaps in LTC" at an LTC and Senior Living Summit. It was a fascinating, energizing event, and not just because I was leaving the frigid temperatures of New York City to dine outdoors in Marina Del Rey.

Addressing residents' deepest fear

Addressing residents' deepest fear

If we address new residents' hidden concerns, we can better show them we understand and care about how they feel. We can enhance their experiences upon entering our organizations and can market our services in a way that relieves their anxiety.

6 ways to improve dealing with death in LTC

6 ways to improve dealing with death in LTC

How someone dies is a very important part of the culture of the long-term care organization. Odds are your community can improve its culture in this area.

Use 'nudge principles' to prompt staff

Use 'nudge principles' to prompt staff

We all can use practice harnessing "less laudatory traits," such as short-sightedness, inertia, inflated optimism and our tendency to submit to peer pressure. Especially for our work. Here's how.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through LTC ...

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through LTC ...

It was the night before Christmas, Hanukkah was ending and Kwanzaa was right around the corner. The perfect time for a poem.

Seeing the 'invisible patient' in LTC

Seeing the 'invisible patient' in LTC

Jane Gross' recent post 'Seeing the Invisible Patient' in the "New Old Age" blog of the New York Times discusses how professionals often ignore the needs of caregivers of the elderly because they are focused on their identified patient. While the article centers on the burdens of caregivers in the community, it got me thinking about whether we're meeting the needs of families whose loved ones are in long-term care.

10 reasons I'm thankful to work in LTC

10 reasons I'm thankful to work in LTC

I owe a lot of my blessings to working in long-term care, and my LTC career is a blessing in itself. You might have some of these same feelings.

Working on how to communicate in facilities

Working on how to communicate in facilities

Transitions between care settings are getting more scrutiny than ever before. So thank goodness for new guidelines designed to help smooth them out. Still, we need all the help we can when it comes to improving communication among fellow caregivers. And I have proof.

The White House Conference on Aging: Why it should matter to you

The White House Conference on Aging: Why it should matter to you

If you, like me, completely missed the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (or if you weren't in the field at the time), it's fair to ask just what the heck it and does. And what it means for eldercare professionals. Read on for the answers and my take on it all.

Dear Diary, Last week I attended my first AHCA convention ...

Dear Diary, Last week I attended my first AHCA convention ...

There's nothing like the first time you get to meet people, attend education sessions and see the exhibit hall at the American Health Care Association, as I found out last week. If you weren't there, you missed a lot.

Creative activities for residents with dementia

Creative activities for residents with dementia

While conducting a training session last week in Montana, I was lucky enough to have a group of more than 100 staff members from various long-term care departments share some excellent suggestions on how to engage residents with dementia. They're too good to pass up.

Preventing difficult family situations

Preventing difficult family situations

From a psychological perspective, here are some ideas to prevent or reduce disagreements with residents and their family members over care, thereby decreasing the likelihood that a situation will result in legal action.

Reducing antipsych meds: 5 ways psychologists can help

Reducing antipsych meds: 5 ways psychologists can help

With the mandate to reduce the use of antipsychotics, many facilities are looking for alternative methods to address the behaviors often associated with dementia. There are several good resources available for training staff, including your consulting psychologist. Here's how he or she can help:

Taking vacations when residents can't do the same

Taking vacations when residents can't do the same

Like many, I'm taking some vacation time during the month of August. It got me thinking about the ways workers interact with residents when they take time off from their jobs. It's more important than you might first think.

The psychology of falls in long-term care

The psychology of falls in long-term care

According to the American Geriatrics Society, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Falls represent the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. You might be surprised to hear some of the contributing factors of falls and the psychology behind them. I also have advice on ways residents and staff can reduce the likelihood of falls.

What if psychologists ruled the (LTC) world...

What if psychologists ruled the (LTC) world...

While most psychologists almost exclusively address the mental health of nursing residents due to the current reimbursement system, we're also aware of the interactions between staff members, families, the physical setting and the organizational culture. Here are some of important things psychologists might do to address the emotional climate of long-term care.

Preventing burnout in long-term care

Preventing burnout in long-term care

In my recent post, "Stuff I won't do for residents and why your staff shouldn't either," I wrote about the need for individual workers to set appropriate boundaries around caregiving in order to retain the ability to give without burning out. In this article, I examine more closely the symptoms of burnout and ways facilities can reduce its likelihood — which is particularly important given the link between burnout and turnover.

Take this to the bank: How to reduce money stress for LTC residents

Take this to the bank: How to reduce money stress for LTC residents

In my conversations with hundreds of long-term care residents over the years, I've found money to be an almost universally sore subject among them. Financial concerns continue to be a stressor for our residents even though they're living in the mostly money-free society of LTC. With some adjustments we can — and should — reduce our residents' financial distress.

The psychology behind good customer service (and why it's more important than you think)

The psychology behind good customer service (and why it's more important than you think)

We may talk about the term "customer service" and ask our staff members to avoid public arguments in front of residents and family members. But nevertheless, volatile situations happen every day. It matters a lot, and here are the psychological implications why.

Implementing an employee recognition program: Tips for success

Implementing an employee recognition program: Tips for success

I recently focused on the benefits of recognition and key points in choosing a recognition program. Now I'd like to address how to implement your chosen employee recognition program so that it becomes an energizing and integral part of your organization, rather than a short-lived promotion that fizzles after its initial burst of enthusiasm.

The very anxious resident: A team approach

The very anxious resident: A team approach

I've developed a set of suggestions for working with "challenging," anxious residents, who can disrupt everyone around them. If caregivers don't have sound strategies like these, patients, caregivers and others will suffer.

In the wake of a nursing home double-homicide: How to meet mental health needs and prevent violence

In the wake of a nursing home double-homicide: How to meet mental health needs and prevent violence

News of the recent double-homicide in a Houston nursing home arrived the morning I was to speak to a group gathered to address the needs of younger residents in long-term care. It didn't escape anyone in the audience how serious this topic is. What can organizations do to respond to this terrible news and to reduce the chances that a similar situation could happen in their facilities? Plenty.

Battling depression: Advice on how to make seniors feel valued by others

Battling depression: Advice on how to make seniors feel valued by others

Senior living providers can design programs that increase the opportunities for residents to be valued within their communities and in the outside world. They have nothing to lose but high depression rates. Here are some ideas to start with.

The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes

The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes

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

I finally visit a Green House (and it blows my mind!)

I finally visit a Green House (and it blows my mind!)

In my last post, I discussed culture change and its positive impact on the mental health of the residents, particularly at Eden Alternative facilities. I recently also had the opportunity to tour a Green House, which I'd heard about but had never seen. I found this model turned everything I'd known about nursing homes upside down.

Reducing depression through person-centered care

Reducing depression through person-centered care

Culture change, the Eden Alternative, whatever you call it, things are moving in that direction. In my experience, the nursing home I worked in that was most attentive to the psychosocial needs of the residents was the one that was in the process of becoming an Eden Alternative home

How to better foster community among long-term care residents

How to better foster community among long-term care residents

Many, if not most, of the services offered in the nursing home can be provided through home-based care. What sets nursing homes and other long-term care sites apart is the opportunity for residents to socialize with each other with ease. Savvy facilities will make the most of promoting their recreation programs and facilitating connections among residents and their families.

The keys to reducing turnover in long-term care

The keys to reducing turnover in long-term care

The turnover rate in long-term care is a very significant problem, so I dug into the research about it. Some of the findings were shocking. Others were simply very disappointing. Here's what I found, and what can be done to improve conditions.

Employee recognition programs: What works

Employee recognition programs: What works

After Ms. Ryan's psychotherapy session, I stopped at the nursing station and asked the nurse for the name of her aide. The nurse pointed to a uniformed woman right next to me, who turned and asked me with hostility, "How do you know it was me?" Surprised, I responded, "I just wanted to tell you Ms. Ryan was really happy with how you did her hair today. She wanted me to thank you for her." The aide appeared stunned. The nurse commented, "We usually expect complaints, not compliments."

Stuff I won't do for residents and why your staff shouldn't either: preventing burnout in LTC

Stuff I won't do for residents and why your staff shouldn't either: preventing burnout in LTC

In my last post, I wrote about some of the many things I do for residents as a long-term care psychologist. The astute reader will note that most of the tasks were accomplished during work hours and within the facility. There's a reason for that.

Stuff I've done for residents as a long-term care shrink

Stuff I've done for residents as a long-term care shrink

Many of us in long-term care think of our jobs as a calling. We handle the day-to-day tasks and the business as usual but also get a lot of energy and joy out of taking our work one step further. Here are some actions I've taken that have enriched my patients and my role as a psychologist.

Using psychology to reduce roommate conflicts: A handy guide

Using psychology to reduce roommate conflicts: A handy guide

I've heard many complaints about roommates from residents over the years. While some roommate difficulties need to be addressed on a situation-by-situation basis, most conflicts revolve around a few basic issues. Here's a handy guide to conflicts and potential resolutions to print out and give to staff.

Instilling hope: Needed for contentment, helpful for long-term care operations

Instilling hope: Needed for contentment, helpful for long-term care operations

"I hope Santa brings me a Sony DS," my 7-year-old told me the other day. I can tell you right now that Santa is NOT bringing her a video game player, but I didn't want to tell her that. So I did what I imagine most parents would do in that situation: I asked her what else she hoped Santa would bring. What does this have to do with long-term care? As it turns out, a lot.

Improving your customer service for the holidays

Improving your customer service for the holidays

The upcoming holidays are an ideal time to provide extra services that showcase your high level of care and make the seasons more pleasant for families and residents.

Telemental health: Who, what, when, where, why you should use it

Telemental health: Who, what, when, where, why you should use it

Since I now Skype regularly with my 94-year old father-in-law and his wife, the concept of telemental health doesn't seem as futuristic to me as it used to seem. I was shocked to discover, however, that the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) was established 20 years ago, with the first applications of telemedicine occurring over 40 years ago. Apparently, I've been behind the times.

Would you want to live in the LTC home where you work?

Would you want to live in the LTC home where you work?

I used to live in a fabulous old fourth-floor walk-up apartment in Manhattan. When I moved out of Manhattan to a borough of New York City for an elevator building with a laundry room in the basement, I made a conscious choice to pick a place I could live for the rest of my life if I had to. "That ramp could come in handy if I need a wheelchair, I reasoned. And if worse comes to worse, I'll move into a nursing home and blog from there."

'Derek' — a long-term care shrink's view

'Derek' — a long-term care shrink's view

I was very pleased when I heard there was a program about a long-term care facility on British television. Finally we're getting our props — at least overseas.

Care model for more than just medical condition needed in long-term care

Care model for more than just medical condition needed in long-term care

Of the most efficient countries for healthcare, the United States ranks second in healthcare costs per capita but 46th in efficiency (out of the 48 countries ranked!). The move from a biomedical to a biopsychosocial model of healthcare might be able to change that. Maybe you're already doing it without realizing it, in fact.

Same-sex couples: Are you and your staff prepared? Probably not

Same-sex couples: Are you and your staff prepared? Probably not

Last week, McKnight's staff writer Tim Mullaney wrote about the new Medicare guidance that guarantees that same-sex married couples can live in the same nursing home. Is your staff prepared to offer them the same respectful service as always, and are you prepared to lead, regardless of your personal beliefs? I'll bet you're not.

6 common problems a shrink on staff can solve (and your consultant can't)

6 common problems a shrink on staff can solve (and your consultant can't)

As a psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities, I provided a lot more than I was paid for, because it was needed. But there was much more help that I didn't offer, not only because I wasn't paid for it, but also because the organization wasn't structured to accept this type of assistance.

Suicide risk in LTC: Effective protocols may not be what you think

Suicide risk in LTC: Effective protocols may not be what you think

According to researchers, 11% to 43% of LTC residents have thoughts of suicide, with higher rates in larger facilities and in those with more staff turnover. Other stressors include medical illness, the presence of a mood disorder such as depression, social isolation, and recent life stressors - factors that frequently affect our residents.

Meeting boomer needs at LeadingAge Florida

Meeting boomer needs at LeadingAge Florida

Social connections, individual preferences and strong resident councils are among the ideas for what makes a strong long-term care facility.

Reducing learned helplessness in LTC

Reducing learned helplessness in LTC

John O'Connor's recent post on the pain/depression cycle raised some interesting points about depression in long-term care. Reducing learned helplessness that is often seen in depression is something more providers need to be trying for.