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.
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.
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.
- RELATED TOPICS
- Granny Cams
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- RELATED TOPICS
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.
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.
In an attempt to cook, a good lesson emerges in knowing one's limits.
- RELATED TOPICS
- Occupational Safety And Health Administration
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.
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.
If there's one service long-term care providers almost universally dislike, it's online websites geared towards consumers and healthcare.
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.
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.
Many operators probably broke out in flop sweat earlier this week when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) endorsed a $15 minimum wage.
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.
It's always tempting to think reports issued from the Government Accountability Office are written by bureaucrats sharpening pencils and tapping into computer databases.
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.
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.
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 was quite a week for ironic juxtaposition in the nation's capital.
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.
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.
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
What persists and cannot fade, despite the best erasure efforts of days on a cross-country train, weeks of total detachment from the Internet and phone signals, AND 65 miles of arduous backpacking in mountains far from home? Good advice about fellow workers, that's what.
Everyone in long-term care loves culture change. But there's a secret.
Labor costs typically eat up 50% to 75% of a facility's operating budget. So it's small wonder that wage issues are at the heart of so many management-labor battles.
One of the more mortifying moments of attending a recent conference was when I went up to a participant and asked to interview her. She nicely reminded me that I had interviewed her 10 minutes before.
Long-term care operators are in the business of solving problems. They make problems disappear for residents, families and the government. And let's not forget employees.
Group memberships improve self-esteem, say Canadian Institute for Advanced Research fellows, who were specifically looking at school children, the homeless and the elderly. The caveat is that the groups have to contribute to the sense of who they were and their social identity.
We used to call them nursing homes. But that changed during the '80s and '90s. The term would eventually lose out to another moniker with less negative baggage: long-term care.
Don't look now, but it appears that nursing home owners might have sneaked one of their own onto the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
While it's hard to have firm data on visitors to nursing home residents, it's estimated that at least half never have a visitor. This can be for a variety of reasons: A relocation away from a community, estrangement or busy families, or outliving most friends and relatives.
To better appreciate this sector's alarming nurse-staffing nightmare, it's helpful to recall the warden's famous line in Cool Hand Luke: "What we've got here is failure to communicate.
There's a reason you go back to your favorite restaurant, television show or shoe store. They're good, and you can count on them being good. That's how I feel about the public relations folks at Erickson Living Communities. They "get" it, and their newest project is a perfect example.
A NADONA presentation focused on preparing documentation and audits spent time diving into the way MDS managers are treated — and it doesn't look great.
The government plans to make new claims data and other resident-care information available to providers and entrepreneurs as never before. Is it too good to be true?
Jane Youell appeared to have hit the jackpot with her timing, but now that's exactly what she still needs: a financial jackpot. The British researcher is attempting to build a first-ever love-and-dementia archive.
The big news last week wasn't that two women were charged with stealing $144,000 from a nursing home in Pennsylvania. It was that their alleged scam lasted for three years.
- RELATED TOPICS
Long-term care operators are rightfully concerned about the never-ending onslaught of new rules and regulations. But a deadly fire in China this week might frame things in a new way for them, if they give it a chance.
It's an odd thing to see the king of the jungle become the hunted instead of the hunter. But now that the smoke has started to clear from last week's announcement that pharmacy giant CVS will be buying Omnicare, the future is coming into better focus.
New research indicates too much time playing video games may reduce our memory skills.
- RELATED TOPICS
- Brain Health
If a recent survey of about 800 corporate attorneys is to be believed, there's no shortage of things to lose sleep over.
- RELATED TOPICS
There's a country music song that popularly declares, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." Well, I'm here to tell you, having standards isn't the answer.
There's a feel-good national story that debuted last week around how emergency responders helped an 81-year-old man. Wonderful people came to his aid. But why did it have to come to this?
- RELATED TOPICS
The first time I heard Gen. Colin Powell speak at a trade show was in the mid-1990s, and he gave one of the most spellbinding presentations I'd ever witnessed. That said, it's now probably time for senior living organizations to stop hiring him.
I've learned after many years of covering long-term care that certain things are sure to arouse providers' anger — over regulation, under payment and reckless media accounts among them. What provokes fear is even easier to identify: technology.
Here's how you know a program is successful: When people keep asking you when it's coming back.
It's almost impossible to turn on the tube these days without seeing an ad from a drug company. The typical scenario goes something like this: Person with a disease or problem is all smiles, thanks to the benefits of the advertised drug. But there's a catch.
The American West was largely settled by pioneers in covered wagons. It looks like a couple hundred years later, the American healthcare landscape is going to be infiltrated by covered Pioneers. And this wagon train is only picking up momentum.
There are many benefits to communicating to your cohorts in neighboring states, and not the least of it may be knowing when a provider is kicked out of Medicaid.
It's so easy to think of older people as being done with sex. And truth be told, many are. But as anyone who has spent time in a skilled care setting can attest, that's hardly a one-size-fits-all notion.
If providers were charged a fee for challenging Recovery Audit Contractor findings, there wouldn't be the current overwhelming backlog of Medicare appeals, says the administration — and, surprise, the auditors themselves.
One of the best signs of a good book is its unplanned lessons. While its title might profess how to fix this or do better at that, a high-quality book also will lead the reader to enlightenment for reasons a PR agent might not promote. Such is my personal experience with Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal."
What kind of cruel, heartless person could openly criticize disabled people in wheelchairs? I guess that cruel, heartless person would have to be me.
The University of Pittsburgh's research involving certified nursing assistants and why they leave is among the most interesting I've seen recently in long-term care. Salary, it turns out, is not nearly as important as respect and flexibility in scheduling.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the guitars are put away and the strains of "Kumbaya" die down after last week's ballyhooed passage of a new Medicare doctor payment rule.
Providers are finding their personal and professional relationships with the government tested these days. But before we all grab our torches and pitchforks, let's take a deep breath.
- RELATED TOPICS
The verdict is still out on how practical or helpful some of new wristbands and other monitoring devices are among long-term care residents. But one new study indicates that a particular wristband may be able to track how depressed patients will respond to common drugs such as Prozac.
Do we need another reminder that a positive attitude or strong mind helps healing? We do. This time, it's with regard to stroke survivors who can't move body parts.
Here's a win-win arrangement that really stands out. For providers wanting to inject a little extra youthful stimulation and outside perspective into their communities, it's worth a look
As some of you know, none of the cool kids are using Facebook anymore. However, given its growth among those above age 65 (your residents) and its continued use among 30-somethings and up (your employees), it's worth being clear on some easily-avoidable professional and personal problems. Here are some examples.
The recent past came rushing up other day, and it wound up whisking all of us onto the set of some fast-paced, financial mayhem-filled movie. Yes, you were there, too — though like me, you might not have realized it.
What should long-term care operators be doing to prepare for the future? Take your pick of these three things.
Greetings. Today seemed like the day to tell you that I, Elana, have taken over Elizabeth Newman's column. McKnight's made the decision after a detailed data analysis related to what drives pageviews. (Have you surfed the Internet lately?!)
If you asked long-term care providers what their main concern is, you would think it would be "patient care," right? It turns out, that's not reality. Most providers, it appears, are consumed by documentation.
The National Labor Relations Board's willingness to let smaller groups of people form "micro unions" has many operators on edge.
Healthcare professionals tend to have a belief in facts, and as a corollary believe in conventional wisdom that knowledge is power. Of course, what people SAY they want to know and how they actually act is often miles apart.
After five years, Gary Gamponia says he has had enough frustration. His message to nursing home administrators and activities directors would likely be, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" — if only he had enough leverage, that is.
In some ways, my parents did their children a great favor by dying early.
David Lee Roth, best known for being the theatrical frontman of the rock band Van Halen, is a decision-making genius whom long-term care providers can learn a lot from.
Curse the headline writers, for they sometimes don't do stories justice. The nursing home profession knows this as well as anyone.
Taken collectively, two recent reports show that last year was a great time to sell a property in this field — and this year may be even better. That may be good news for the movers and shakers. But is it an encouraging sign for the sector overall?
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
Elizabeth Leis Newman