80-year-old's Thanksgiving 'first' worth the wait

For many, traveling is as synonymous with Thanksgiving as turkey, frantic shopping and green bean casserole are. But for one Kentucky nursing home resident, this year's family gathering was far from ordinary. It was a first-ever.

Some Washington institutions more entrenched than others

When it comes to educating their offspring, the richest and most powerful people in Washington have a virtual cornucopia of top-shelf choices. But for sheer cache, Sidwell Friends School stands alone.

Just don't call me late for dinner

There's a wisecrack about getting someone's name right that ends with, "Call me whatever you want, but just don't call me late for dinner." Were it only such a light matter for some earnest seniors housing and care providers and their marketing people.

Hungry for a breakthrough

Study findings that are applicable to people's daily lives, like sleep and exercise, are good. Incorporating emotions or heart, as I've written about previously, works too. But the best way to grab the public's interest is through their stomachs.

For too many in nursing, the thrill is gone

It's generally understood that this sector faces a severe nursing shortage that's likely to worsen. Money alone is not going to make this problem disappear. That's because the real challenge goes beyond take-home pay.

Good news for Medicaid facilities

Nursing homes that take Medicaid beneficiaries or dual eligibles often know they are admitting low-income, chronically ill seniors. Now there is some good news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it will increase payments for dual eligibles enrolled in one of 12 state-administered demonstration programs.

Guinness was calling and these LTC record breakers answered

A little-known fact in Berklan family lore is that I was once part of a Guinness World Records Book entry. There are press clippings somewhere at the house, but I don't know exactly where.

Paro goes to Hollywood

It's not too often that I see topics that we cover at McKnight's spill over into pop culture. Especially not on a brand new, critically acclaimed Netflix comedy series.

This new budget doesn't pass the smell test

For many operators, the new federal budget is beginning to smell like a rotten onion. And as more of its layers get exposed, the stench keeps getting worse.

Sloan's appointment is a historic moment

While I couldn't be everywhere during LeadingAge, to the best of my knowledge new executive and president Katie Smith Sloan didn't walk across the stage to the tune of a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quote and a backdrop that said feminist, a la Beyonce.

Teen astounds with solution for wandering monitoring today, Alzheimer's next?

Kenneth Shinozuka modestly aspires to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, and he might be just the guy to do it. He's already created a personal sensoring system that could revolutionize the wandering management industry and he hasn't even finished high school yet.

The stories behind 'Still Alice'

In researching story ideas for McKnight's, I come across a lot of scientific articles on the latest and greatest breakthrough in Alzheimer's disease and dementia research. Unfortunately, between all of the research, clinical trials and peer reviewed papers, something gets lost: heart. And I'm not alone in that feeling.

Who'll pay for long-term care? Some answers that are worth the wait

Providers should be waiting with baited breath for the upcoming announcement of the latest findings of the Pathways project. They might hold solutions to long-term care's payment puzzle.

Understanding Lewy body dementia

The song "Friend Like Me" has popped up pretty frequently on my favorite Pandora station lately, and that's made me sad. It was sung in the movie "Aladdin" by Robin Williams, who committed suicide last year. Now, there might be some good coming out of it.

The secrets to motivating your staff lie here

Americans love rewards. Perhaps nowhere else is the carrot-and-stick strategy put to more frequent or hopeful use than the United States. But 6,000 lucky long-term care providers learned how and why there are far better ways to motivate people Tuesday morning.

Do it for your herd

How do you convince some 50,000 plus college students, faculty and staff to get a flu shot? If you're the university I attended, you hand out stickers with a catchy slogan and a cartoon cow on them.

ICD 10: revenge of the weird and obscure

It was just about a month ago that providers transitioned to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision - ICD-10. While the early reviews have been decidedly mixed, one thing is for sure: weird and obscure was never like this.

Cute is as cute does

As the leading long-term care professional publication, we know ahead of time that certain columns will provoke conversation and comments. But responses to a column this week about not calling residents "cute" caught me by surprise.

New Parkinson's study something to sniff at — please

Ilja Gort could be dethroned soon, and it may be good for untold number of seniors and other disease victims. The winemaker has the world's "Most Valuable Nose," according to the "Guinness World Records 2015" book.

The curious case of the disappearing CNA

In high school, I had a job working in the foodservice industry, which I strongly believe should be a mandatory part of the teenage experience. It might have helped a recently fired nurses' aide, though probably not for the reason you might be thinking.

This open-and-shut case may leave a bad taste

As we recently reported, a former nursing director recently sued Napa's Piner's Nursing Home. Her allegation is that efforts to have an alleged sex offender removed from the payroll fueled her own termination.

SNF snapshot of trouble

The HCR ManorCare hepatitis C story we ran earlier this week deserves another look, but probably not for the reason you're thinking. Without meaning to, it forcefully reminded us of the power of the visual.

How providers should respond to online complainers

Many things about aging and long-term care are "givens." At the top of the list: People grow older, become less healthy and, sooner or later, die. Pretty tough circumstances to try to build a good working reputation around. In fact, with a uniquely 21st century poison in play, it is harder than ever for providers.

A sticky situation: HCR ManorCare's court filing

HCR ManorCare's court filing against Trinity Health Services is full of snippets that left me either scratching my head or flat out disgusted.

Why Volkswagen should serve as a cautionary tale

In at least one important way the embattled auto maker Volkswagen and long-term care providers are perhaps not so different.

Settlement teaches lessons on resident monitoring

After awhile in this business, it's easy to become skeptical of family members suing after a loved one dies. Many times, these relatives have no understanding of underlying health conditions — or they might be trying to overcompensate in grief after not having visited. Then, however, there are also the occasional lawsuits where you totally understand where the family is coming from.

Four times the flu fun

Mixed emotions is the best way to describe my feelings about super-powered flu vaccinations. Just like anyone else, I like to know I'm getting a good return on my buck.

Go get your audience (before Kanye West does)

When you ask seniors for their take on twerking, Kanye West and social media, you're bound to get some colorful answers.

Staying on the right side of compliance

In the 403-page Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed rule, there has been a lot of discussion around arbitration, quality and education. But buried within also are new regulations around compliance programs.

Leadership becomes McChrystal clear

Although I haven't played it much lately, I like the game of golf as a good analogy for task management, or simply getting through life's day-to-day challenges. It doesn't matter if you've ever played, or even like the game. Among other things, it also has noteworthy implications about your leadership style.

A snapshot of successful dementia surveys

I firmly believe the old saying that a picture's worth a thousand words. But for every strong, visual message photograph conveys, there are dozens of more messages that it doesn't, or can't, get across.

This 'crackdown' should really melt your cheese

Can someone please tell me exactly what "melty cheese" is? The product exists in commercials but is apparently not to be found elsewhere. And as far as I can tell, no state regulators are cracking down on firms lauding it — something that does not actually exist. Lucky them.

SNF therapy billing controversy rises from the dead

Despite my love of Halloween, there is one component of it that is distinctly not for me: Horror movies. Still, I'm enough of a pop culture enthusiast that I can appreciate those with an appetite for scary movies and their sequels. If you want to watch the 10 "Halloween" movies or six versions of "Paranormal Activity," I'm not going to judge you. (Much.)

Who takes care of the healthcare worker?

Like observers of a mother driving herself to exhaustion and sickness by taking care of her children day after day, U.S. providers are seeing measured declines in their caregivers. The numbers reveal just how bad it is.

Home sweet home — in the right mood

Moving is always exciting to me. This isn't because I enjoy the stressful process of apartment hunting and packing my life away into boxes like a real-life game of Tetris, because, let's face it, I don't.

Feeling threatened at work? You're probably a woman

Who has the most dangerous jobs in America? Police officers? Fire fighters? Loggers?

Nursing shortage might not be as dire as feared

For the past decade, healthcare experts, including those in long-term care, have been drumming the beat of a looming nursing shortage. A new study details why the shortage might not be as terrible as feared.

Hospitals' plea will soon be nursing homes'

I was truly surprised when I didn't hear long-term care leaders excitedly jumping around, yelling, "See! See! Us too! Us too!" last week. It was a simple report, sure, but one that should have sent the frantic-meter bouncing.

Want better outcomes? Work less

It's no wonder that the latest experiment in shorter, more efficient work days comes out of Europe.

Nuns against the neighbors, and NIMBY takes the lead

I first heard about the sisters of Fraternite Notre Dame last winter, when two boilers broke down at a church they were running on Chicago's West Side. The public ultimately came to their rescue then. A different crowd, however, is now quashing its dreams of expanding into long-term care service.

The start of fall, the end of falls

You have to hand it to the folks at the National Council on Aging, and their affiliated partners. They really know how to tastefully make light of a harrowing situation.

You've got mail — and some work to do

"We don't do email." At first I wasn't sure if I heard the person on the other end of the phone correctly. Here was a long-term care provider in this, the year 2015, who didn't use email. At all.

Long-term care providers selling health insurance? Don't laugh

Signature HealthCARE is known as a high-end provider of skilled care services. Starting next month, it will also begin selling health insurance. As unusual as that might seem, it may not be long before additional operators are following suit.

Diving into disparities

There is little that makes McKnight's readers as defensive as publishing a story about racial disparities in long-term care. The comments often complain that access to care is complicated and shouldn't be simplified to focus on race.

Getting good at goodbyes

It's fairly likely that one or more of your employees will be leaving soon. That's why you need to read this. It will make your organization healthier, and in ways you might have never imagined.

Technology troubles hitting close

We like to assume that healthcare workers are a trustworthy bunch, especially when they're entrusted with caring for people's' loved ones. But manipulation of data, from patients' records to medication logs, seems to be a trend. What happens when a case of electronic data manipulation hits closer to home?

'Forest fires': What's your plan?

Long-term care tends to ignore home- or community-based service technology and data mining, but the era of bundled payments, partnerships and accountable care mean it's time to pay attention. Of course, technology gets healthcare services only so far.

No argument: This Butler did it (and more)

Professionals are often told it's in their best interest to network. Friend of long-term care Kerrick Butler has brought new meaning to the concept.

Grab your Sharpie — LTC's yearbook is here

A new report is out and it is a veritable time capsule of trends driving long-term care. Now in its 30th year, CliftonLarsonAllen's Skilled Nursing Facility Cost Comparison Report came about when the company's long-term clients began asking how they measured up to others.

Nursing homes and loopholes, a love story

You can bet that nursing home-hired actuaries, lawyers, consultants and other assorted bean counters are going over new rules with a fine-tooth comb. They are looking for the next generation of potential revenue streams — and any loopholes to them. If they exist, they will be found, and implemented.

Business etiquette for beginners

Lately it's been irking me that not only thank-you notes but business etiquette seems to be falling by the wayside. We're not talking about using the wrong spoon at dinner, but a genuine failure of manners.

Seeing is believing, and other tough truths for providers

If you didn't work in long-term care and I asked you to specify what these five states — Illinois, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico — have in common, we could be waiting for your answer until Donald Trump had more than a snowball's chance in hell at winning the Republican nomination for president.

Small staff, big hearts — simple needs

Mary Tellis-Nayak often makes it a point to visit nursing homes in other countries when she and her husband, Vivian, travel. A 2012 trip to his hometown of Mangalore, India, was no different.

Tired of looking for stuff in all the wrong places?

Many senior living professionals have had to settle for content that was created for another sector that's not quite them. Or worse, settle for stuff that has little to do with their day job. The good news is that those days are officially over. McKnightsSeniorLiving.com is now live.

Likelihood of hospice use may vary by where you live

We tend to paint hospice with broad strokes. A new study indicates how it can vary by states, with Oregon emerging as the best example of a place that seems to be doing it right.

Angels (with great connections) in our midst

The ability to make a senior feel a part of the outside world can mean the difference between having a catatonic lump or a bon vivant on your hands. Luckily, there's never been a better time to overcome mobility issues.

Stop with the Snapchats, already!

It looks like Snapchat will take the crown in this week's edition of "What Smartphone App Is Causing Providers Grief Now?!" (Yelp won that distinction last week, for those keeping score at home).

A dangerous combination at too many nursing homes

It would appear that nursing facilities are becoming more reluctant to admit younger people with mental illnesses. At the risk of sounding like an insensitive jerk, that's a good thing.

Hands off the arbitration options

Whether it's a J.K. Rowling novel, Tom Clancy adventure or run-of-the-sawmill book of government regulations, when there's 403 pages, it's going to take time to digest. With regulation revisions, heartburn often follows.

Blended lessons

In an attempt to cook, a good lesson emerges in knowing one's limits.

Giving person-centered care the green light

I'm one of those people who see the numbers ticking down on a crosswalk signal as a challenge. Five seconds? No problem. Three? Let's just say if you've ever been waiting at a stoplight only to hear a blond-haired pedestrian yell "WE CAN MAKE IT," I was probably the culprit.

Finally, a leader who's willing to speak out

Among the police, it's known as the blue wall of silence. This unwritten rule regularly comes into play when a fellow officer's errors, poor behavior or possible crimes are under scrutiny. Its basic message: Keep your mouth shut.

Yelping at online reviews

If there's one service long-term care providers almost universally dislike, it's online websites geared towards consumers and healthcare.

You want culture change? Stop complaining

Things have been kind of tough lately, haven't they? And they're probably going to get tougher, right? If you have thought or possibly mouthed those words yourself, stop. Just stop. Quit your complaining ... for one day at least.

Long-term care bear

She spends her free time doing puzzles, and walking around outside, has cataracts and high blood pressure. She celebrated her most recent birthday with a special cake made by her loved ones and caregivers. That description could probably fit any number of your residents, but I'm willing to bet they don't stay fit by somersaulting down hills — or by snacking on 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day.

Operators grapple with the $31,000 (or so) question

Many operators probably broke out in flop sweat earlier this week when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsed a $15 minimum wage.

Rare long-term care double win

So much for the dog days of summer getting close. Long-term care advocates were already at full woof on Tuesday — and that's a good thing.

GAO addresses troubling fraud

It's always tempting to think reports issued from the Government Accountability Office are written by bureaucrats sharpening pencils and tapping into computer databases.

The lawsuits are coming! The lawsuits are coming!

Given the nature of what they do, it's not surprising that nursing homes sometimes find themselves targeted in lawsuits. Unfortunately, it appears that this discomforting reality is about to become more uncomfortable.

Can't we all just talk (about death)? Yes, we can

The lessons keep flowing from the political debacle that has been Sarah Palin's political career since she left her job as mayor of a small Alaska town. You'll recall it was Palin who launched the irresponsible phrase "death panels" into the stratosphere back in 2009.

Assisted living's portrayal in "Trainwreck"

It's not revolutionary to see long-term care come up in a feature film, from "Away from Her" to "The Savages." But it's brave to incorporate it into a comedy, especially one where the star isn't (yet) a household name.

It's pretty clear what they're really committed to

It was quite a week for ironic juxtaposition in the nation's capital.

Beyond the 403-page elephant in the room

Civics class was in full session Monday, when long-term care providers received a summer reading assignment that should keep them busy — and anxiety-ridden — for many days to come. But, hey, at least they know the president of the United States is now paying attention.

Into the woods

I might not be the best advertising for it, but a new study confirms what I have suspected in my gut — nature is good for you. And that definitely includes seniors.

Cameras: Families like them, lawyers love them

Illinois may soon become the fifth state that lets families install cameras in nursing homes. Advocates see the move as a way to help ensure peace of mind. But for many nursing homes, the development may do just the opposite

Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.


    James M. Berklan

    James M. Berklan

    Elizabeth Leis Newman
    Senior Editor

    Elizabeth Leis Newman

    John O'Connor
    Editorial Director

    John O'Connor

    Emily Mongan
    Staff Writer

    Emily Mongan