Hospice is changing, are you?

Long-term care providers need to change their mindset when it comes to hospice care. Here's why.

How to quickly size up the health of any facility

When it comes to measuring how well a long-term care facility is doing, we all know the usual benchmarks: revenues, profits and census levels.

What the debate's entitlement discussion means for LTC

While I never expected long-term care to be a serious part of discussion within the three presidential debates, the wonky part of my heart still jumped for joy when moderator Chris Wallace asked about entitlement programs during the last debate Wednesday night.

Nursing homes laying it on the line over arbitration

You think there are a lot of negative headlines about providers getting sued now? Just watch the floodgates open if arbitration clauses aren't allowed.

Time to make your Egg McMuffin

If you're among the group of providers and vendors gathered in Nashville this week for the American Health Care Association's 67th Annual Convention & Expo, and you have the bonus of absolutely not being a morning person (i.e. me), you probably got your wakeup call around 10 a.m. Monday morning during the general session.

Sure you want to go there? Litigation more perilous in some areas than others

We might soon start to see the emergence of a divestiture trend based less on undesirable holdings and more on undesirable locales. The obvious choices will be cities and states with a plaintiff-friendly reputation, where lawsuit risks can rise dramatically.

Saying no to the hugging resident

While leaving my car this morning in our office parking lot, I noticed a gray-haired man shuffling towards me. I assumed he was heading towards his car, but he stopped in front of me and demanded, "Hey, where's my hug?" while holding out his arms.

It's time to lean on compliance officers

If administrators and long-term care managers were ever looking for a good time to make their mark, this is it. And they better be looking to, or start creating, high-quality compliance officers as well.

Don't snooze? You lose

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study noting health concerns for night-shift workers didn't exactly give the day-shift crowd a clean bill of health, either. Day-shift workers still reported experiencing insomnia and other sleep issues, with nearly 20% of all employees saying they had poor sleep quality. Women workers also fared worse.

The evolution of swag

Vendors heading into a myriad of fall conferences have plenty to worry about. Months ago, most probably had a serious debate about what swag to offer at their exhibit booths.

Fighting the stains on your profession

Some journalists are jerks or untrustworthy. Or both. There, I said it.

Let the government teach you a lesson about millennials

The stars in the workforce-strategy universe must have aligned on Thursday, because a new government report about millennials dropped around the same time that we kicked off a webcast on hiring and retaining millennial workers.

New arbitration rule doesn't have much of a silver lining

Any way you slice it, last week was a rough one for long-term care operators.

Debating the obscure parts of the final rule

If misery loves company, take comfort in knowing many of your long-term care colleagues are doing the same thing this week.

'This is what it's all about'

One line, more than any other, hit home during my discussion with Carol Silver Elliott on Wednesday: "If we're really in the business of taking care of older adults, this is what it's all about."

Got kidney stones? It may be time to visit Disney World

Before you jump on the "Who paid for THAT study?!" bandwagon, know that this research wasn't borne from some scientist's Nyquil-induced fever dream.

ACLU takes on nursing homes

Of course precautions have to be taken in a healthcare setting to prevent the spread of AIDS, but they are things you'd also use as a basic standard of care.

Proof of the value of palliative care consultations

Everybody's looking for win-win scenarios, especially in healthcare. Because of such tight operating margins, that goes double for long-term care. That's what makes some of the newest palliative care research out of Brown University so intriguing.

A reel problem for seniors

Hollywood has a long way to go before it accurately reflects the diversity of the people who pay money to see its films. Take, for example, seniors. Research from the University of Southern California and insurance provider Humana shows the film industry is seriously lacking when it comes to depicting older adults in a positive light.

A challenge to CCRCs that's going largely unnoticed

As the marketing discussion continues about what continuing care retirement communities should be called, a more subtle — and potentially more profound — change is quietly taking root.

CMS and providers have reason to celebrate

I encourage providers to pause and pat themselves on the back. That's because 30-day hospital readmission rates have dropped in all states except one over the past five years.

Nipping improper Medicare payments in the bud

Does the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services need its own Barney Fife to set its house in order? Some seem to think so.

Who are you wearing?

Whenever I see a city I once lived in making headlines or trending online, I cross my fingers and hope it's for something good. This was not the case this past week.

This sneak peek is worth a look

Has it ever been more difficult to run a long-term care organization? Probably not. That's why you ought to know about this group and its big meeting.

Why you should read a book before your next interview

If you're interviewing for a new job, prepare the right way. That includes being able to talk about a favored hobby, and a book you like.

When man bites dog at the Alzheimer's care facility

Here's your long-term care "Man bites dog" story of the week.

Lessons for LTC providers — with students as the teachers

There are some lessons providers can glean from students who have made the jump into a living situation where few in their age group have gone before. That's right, nursing homes.

Health IT should be a bigger political issue

The chances of the next two months involving an intellectual discussion of the intricacies of healthcare policy within the current political spectrum is nil. But those of us in healthcare media wouldn't be doing our jobs if we didn't at least try to engage with what the future holds.

Understanding the new digital-social dynamic

It's obvious that sex symbol Mae West never had to contend with social media or the Internet. If she had, she might have amended one of her famous sayings to end " ... but when I'm bad, I get slaughtered." This is a lesson for long-term care operators.

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.

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