Paging Dr. Google

Experts recently squared off on the use of medical websites, and whether they can help keep patients engaged in their care or run the risk of misinforming them about serious medical conditions (and annoy their caregivers in the process).

An internal challenge that's far worse than mission creep

Navigating those so-called easy forms often turns out to be about as effortless as walking across the Amazon Jungle with just a machete.

Looking inside the bagpipes

As tragic as the death of a certain bagpipes-playing gentleman was, we can draw lessons from it to potentially help long-term care residents.

The long-term care convention that's sure to entertain

I'm not sure what I'll be most looking forward to on one of my next business trips — coloring in the the giant coloring book, the Gasoline Alley pub on the convention floor, the wheelchair-assembly service project or the Halloween costume contest.

Time to start clowning around

I like the occasional clown — as long as they're where they're supposed to be. But when they're not? Downright terrifying. Then came this new nursing home study to put that line of thought on its ear.

What you really need to know about the presidential election

Ignore the white noise over whether Hillary or The Donald will be a worse choice. There's a sleeper issue in the November elections, and it just might have a major impact on your long-term care organization.

  • CMS

Federal court orders CMS to educate more about Jimmo 'Improvement Standard' case

Long-term care providers and consumer advocates were able to celebrate a victory over federal regulators on Thursday. But while the infrequent partners might feel they caught a good decision out of U.S. District Court in Vermont, they're also likely to be wincing about the ones that "got away."

Some thoughts on a pregnancy discrimination case

There are times when a judge is right, and it makes you want to start screaming.

How to make a movie about long-term care

What if Hollywood made a big-budget movie about long-term care? Would it be about a heroic worker? Nah, too cheesy. How about a bitter resident who finally finds peace in a facility? Needs more grit and intrigue. I'm thinking of a film about powerful but threatened individuals pulling the levers at their disposal.

Are you ready for some more quality? Doesn't matter

Did you feel the Earth move a bit extra Wednesday? Didn't think so, even though that was THE DAY that five new quality reporting measures were added to the calculations for nursing home grades.

How to handle residents that bully staff

I've written before about "mean girls" and their desire to exert control in continuing care retirement communities. But until reading an excellent new book, it didn't occur to me that a specific area for improvement in nursing homes can relate to residents bullying staff.

Successful LTC is hidden in the headlines

Over the course of my past 12 weeks as McKnight's summer editorial intern, I've covered a wide variety of stories, many of which I never expected to see in long-term care.

The power of the viral post

For as tricky as the medium of online reviews can be for the consumer, they must be even trickier to navigate for the business owner on the receiving end. Especially when a scathing review goes viral. That's the situation one Indiana provider found itself in last week.

The future of LTC, a puzzle or a mystery?

Kaiser Health News provided one of last week's sleeper developments. The organization predicted hospitals will see payment cuts surpassing $500 million in the coming year thanks to escalating readmission penalties.

Positive attitudes in aging lead to resilience

Having a positive attitude in aging makes seniors more resilient under stress, according to new research. This means more than you probably think.

When online healthcare doesn't live up to its billing

From the "What if they threw a party and nobody came?" file, new study results show that relatively few seniors are buying into the idea that digital technology can help their healthcare.

A new breakthrough for the big C. diff

A breakthrough in Clostridium difficile research could be the starting point for a treatment that may make the lives of your residents, and even your own lives, much better.

It's time for 'the talk' about healthcare fraud

Some necessary conversations tend to be awkward and uncomfortable. They include talking to our children about baby making. Or convincing our parents to give up the car keys. Or talking to government investigators about those astronomical therapy billings.

Implant provides hope for the limping

In one of the sadder coincidences of my life, news of an FDA-approved cartilage implant made me more excited than it would have a year ago. That's because this particular synthetic cartilage implant is for those with osteoarthritis in their big toe, and I happened to be diagnosed this summer with arthritis in my toes.

Feeling under fire? No wonder

How do you know you have a room with three people feeling sorry for themselves in it? Find a room with two nursing home workers. Their persecution complex levels will add up.

Pokémon Go is a catch for LTC

If you've read or watched the news at all in the past few weeks, or even just gone outside and seen groups of people huddled around their phones, you probably know about this Pokémon Go thing.

A note from SNFs to hospitals: Stay away from Misfit Island

Hospitals need to toughen up. Their impending new five-star rating system isn't going to be the end of the world (at least, not for most of them). But if the experience of skilled nursing homes is any indication, many will soon have legitimate reasons to be upset.

When the star goes down and payment's involved, beware

A leader in the quest to increase long-term care insurance activity delivered a blow to its followers this week. The fallout might not be pretty.

How to not plagiarize — and why it matters in your job

If there's a teachable moment in the brouhaha of Melania Trump's speech Monday (for those who managed to miss it, chunks appear to have been cribbed from Michelle Obama's 2008 speech), it's in how we should discuss plagiarism with our employees.

Do the safety dance

Imagine for a moment that the long-term care industry came with a set of commandments. I'm talking carved in stone, universally accepted tenets for providers. What would rank as number one? Mine is clear.

When social media is used to degrade residents

The rise of abuse via social media simply raises a point that should have been emphasized for decades: You should do all you can to discourage workers from capturing residents in unflattering ways

Stay home when sick, and go on vacation already

Far too many of the US workforce, especially in areas such as healthcare and the service industry, have little to no paid vacation time or sick leave.

Good advice about Alzheimer's, dementia and staying sharp

There is no question providers see a lot of Alzheimer's. They also encounter a lot of individuals whose family members struggle with the debilitating condition.

More proof that laughter is the best medicine

Improvisational comedy may not be among your facility's go-to lineup of activities, and understandably so. But the same reasons that make improv scary to some — I know, I've done it — may bring benefits for older adults, including (but certainly not limited to) increasing socialization and helping prevent dementia

A word to the regulators: Enough already!

You probably don't need to be reminded that skilled care is regulated quite severely. And if it seems like things are getting worse for your facility, well that's because they probably are.

Oh, yes, they ARE paying attention to your HIPAA efforts

Long-term care operators for years have been enjoying a pass when it comes to HIPAA enforcement and crackdowns. Or so it might seem.

Taking antibiotic action

Antipsychotics may soon lose their title as the most maligned medications in healthcare if startling headlines, clinical findings and expert opinions are any evidence.

Patient identifier systems need to move beyond the name game

When I became engaged to my wonderful husband, I spent a fair amount of time debating what to do with my last name. There were philosophical discussions around feminism, identity and what it means to be married. In a million years, however, it didn't occur to me the logistics around changing one's name creates a bureaucratic nightmare.

The key business principle always applies, even with death

No matter how you slice whatever you do for a living, you are employed to provide one thing: good customer service. Knowing what your "customer" wants and needs, and then getting it to him or her, is the route to success. That's why I was so intrigued with new study results this week pertaining to end-of-life care.

Communication lessons from Yoda

What can long-term care professionals learn from Yoda from "Star Wars"? On the surface, probably not a lot — unless you ask Stacey Starling, Ph.D.

Long-term care operators feeling alone again, naturally

Say what you will about Republican lawmakers and their notions of healthcare reform: at least they're consistent. Like their Democratic colleagues, they simply don't seem to realize that long-term care is a part of the package deal.

Flu-misty covered memories of the way we were

Within the conspiracy theories around the flu vaccine — and trust me, healthcare reporters have heard them all — there's also one secret lurking within people's refusal to receive the shot. It involves a sharp needle stabbing into one's arm.

ACOs and the big squeeze

Try as the researchers and regulars might, there's still head-scratching going on about accountable care organizations. While the future of value-based purchasing seems secure, what ACOs will look like and how widely they'll be adopted is still up in the air.

  • ACO

A tiny Alzheimer's study with huge results

If 2025 seems like it's ambitiously close for finding an Alzheimer's disease cure or game-changer, take heart — there's a recently released Alzheimer's study that may serve as a turning point in this seemingly never-ending battle.

Now that was one tough week

Most long-term care facilities would probably like to forget about last week. That's because two figurative bombshells exploded.

Evaluating California's dual eligible program

I'm not a person with particularly complex healthcare needs. That said, over the course of my life, I've seen a series of crummy physicians, ranging from those with a poor bedside manner who left me in tears to those who pushed duplicate tests, unnecessary procedures or ill-advised medications.

View from the finish line: The way to a life with no regrets

"Regret avoidance" is a worthy goal in everyone's life. This man's research makes it attainable.

Big Brother is watching (you wash your hands ... or not)

I'm one of those people who sings, and occasionally dances, while they drive. Nothing too out of control, of course, but just passionately enough where you might be concerned that I was having a medical issue if you passed me on the freeway.

The Alzheimer's investment that's not being made

Our best hope to make progress against Alzheimer's disease probably lies in the form of increased research funding.

Embracing managed care

What was clear from the panel was managed care, skilled nursing and home health have to build partnerships.

The Muhammad Ali allure

The first time I met Muhammad Ali was the most memorable. I wound up in his hotel room with a handful of others, watching him perform magic tricks as numerous jiggling young bombshells showered him with overindulgent praise.

Facebook for SNF residents? It could be on its way

Take a moment and think of all the online communities you're a part of.

When one future strategy isn't enough

You are unlikely to meet many people who understand this field quite like Robert G. Kramer. When he talks about what skilled care operators should be doing to get past the turbulent years to come, it's probably a good idea to listen up.

Finding illumination on PBJ

I don't mind saying that hearing a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services official discuss Payroll-Based Journaling yesterday was the first time a light bulb went off for me about the new system.

This lifesaving coincidence definitely makes you swallow deeply

It wasn't enough that Patty Ris was saved from choking in the dining room at her continuing care retirement community. She and her rescuer made worldwide headlines.

Reading beyond the rankings

It's easy to take big, national health reports like the 2016 America's Health Ranking Senior Report, skim the results for your state and leave it at that.

Infections connected to Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease and a long-term care magazine is analogous to nursing home administrators and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: No matter what you do, you're not breaking them apart.

Keep the village — he recommends a system

If the figures represented a stock chart, David Gifford would be not only a happy man but also a very rich one. The numbers and performance both show upswings. But they don't reflect a stock's rising value.

Yes, you do need to prepare for transgender residents

I was a Girl Scout growing up, and despite our slight rivalry with our Boy Scout counterparts (Girl Scout cookies are better than popcorn in every conceivable way, please stop fooling yourselves) I can still appreciate their motto: Be prepared.

Looking to survive in long-term care? Then it's time to 'pay' up

If you want to build an organization that's built to last for very long time, say multiple generations, follow the three-payment plan.

Improper payments often about inaccuracy

One of the common aphorisms uttered in the Newman house is Hanlon's razor. It has various iterations, but it is basically "never assume malice what can be explained by stupidity."

Neutrality an elusive concept in 'site-neutral' payment talk

It's fitting we're in the midst of Triple Crown season. That means it's time to pick a horse as your next winner — and it could possibly be a very big winner.

Want to ward off dementia? Follow Madonna's lead

If you really want to help cut your risks of cognitive impairment and memory loss, it might be time to go outside your comfort zone and take a few tips from the Material Girl herself.

SNFs and cabbies agree that more regs are needed — for the other guy

You can gain real insights about your future by examining what the competition is up to. Remarkably, there are still some skilled care operators who don't see assisted living as the competition. For them I have only two words: dementia care.

Shirtless nurse creates controversy

Good news, female nurses, you are now respected professionals valued for your experience and education.

Providers shake off gloomy forecasts with pride, optimism

First, the crowd of top-flight nursing home operators took the punch to the gut in silence. Then, they shed the stoicism and got even.

Person-centered care, Chopped style

If there was such thing as an armchair quarterback for the Food Network show Chopped, it'd be me. My friends and I have logged an almost embarrassing amount of time watching it (eight hours on one recent rainy day binge), yelling critiques at the on-screen chefs' dishes as we eat something totally unimpressive, such as microwave popcorn.

More frivolous lawsuits ahead? You can bank on it

Eldercare service providers would be well advised to watch proposed arbitration rules that have been aimed primarily at banks — for now.

The difference between addiction and dependence with opioids

While I love long-term care and the people who work in it, I don't think anyone would assert that it's cool.

Examiners see the churn and corporate SNF operators feel the burn

I imagined nursing home chain executives wincing two days ago at the sight of yet another study apparently finding they're doing a poor job.

Is no news really good news?

Long-term care doesn't exist in a vacuum. Every once in awhile, the issues you face in your facilities each day "leak" out of the healthcare realm and on to the pages of a major newspaper, for better or for worse.

Dealing with that other f-word

If there is one universal zero-tolerance policy at most facilities, it is this: Don't fail. Executives and others who don't meet prescribed goals tend to be quickly shown the door. It's almost as if failure is a disease that must be eradicated. This can be very wrong.

The need for semi-skilled workers in LTC

What do the meat and poultry industry and long-term care have in common, other than often dealing with turkeys? It turns out both have challenges in hiring semi-skilled workers, which is addressed in a bill proposed last week by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

The cheapest Alzheimer's aid, and regrettably overlooked

What if it were announced that a new pill was available that could put off Alzheimer's disease onset or symptoms for more than four years? It turns out such a solution has existed for years.

Tales you might never expect from the frontlines of fraud

The healthcare world currently ranks as the fourth most victimized industry when it comes to fraud, falling prey to roughly 6.6% of all fraud incidents. In the long-term care sector, experts recently shared, one area gets hit harder than others: resident trust funds.

Are anonymous tips constitutional? Turns out there may be more than one answer

No nursing home operator wants to be accused of abuse or neglect by someone who can't be held accountable. Yet it happens with alarming regularity.

Medicare to reimburse certain genetic tests

News about how there will be Medicare reimbursement for hereditary cancer-related disorders, under a new CPT code for multi-gene panels, gives more options to some long-term care residents.

Time for a palliative care makeover

Celebrity party animals have done it. Nursing homes have done it. Now, it's time for palliative care providers to do it.

Finally, some good news about social media

PHILADELPHIA — McKnight's resident millennial here reporting live from The City of Brotherly Love with some exciting news: Despite all the social horror media stories we've seen cycle through the news recently, it's not all that bad for long-term care.

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
    Senior Editor

    John O'Connor
    Editorial Director

    Emily Mongan
    Staff Writer