Answers compiled during the Long-Term and Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) Health IT Summit in Baltimore.
Here's my naïve and rather radical gardening philosophy — it should be an act of joy, not stress or fear. But another striving human I know, along with a few people I've met in long-term care, seems to have a hard time embracing that viewpoint.
Adversity, that irrepressible rascal. We're far too familiar with it in long-term care.
In both life and long-term care, we tend to distrust the simple solutions.
I love technology. I'm using some right now. It's technology, after all, that translates brain waves and finger twitches and makes it possible for me to tell you how much I love technology. Though my advancing age makes our relationship adversarial at times, I'm definitely a fan.
We don't have crickets in long-term care, but we should. They're very soothing insects. Experts on Crickipedia maintain that they actually emit four different sounds — a calling song, an aggressive song, a courting song and a copulatory song. Most human communication fits into those categories as well.
Whenever I pass one of those cinderblock mini-storage places with double-loaded rows of strictly functional corridors, I think the same thing: "That looks like some nursing homes I've been in."
Is it just a coincidence that on the day after the most heartbreaking defeat ever in Seattle sports, following the worst coaching decision in recorded football history, not just the Super Bowl, I choose to write about alcohol? Probably not.
With all the issues you face in long-term care, it doesn't surprise me you've never given a moment's thought to one of the great travesties of modern civilization — that there's way too much crème brulee in this world, and not nearly enough panna cotta.
The single most important precipitant for placement of Parkinson's disease patients in a long-term care facility is psychiatric dysfunction, particularly psychosis.
In an attempt to learn if I'm allergic to gluten, nuts or dairy, I might have also simultaneously stumbled onto a strategy for solving all problems in life and long-term care management.
I have theories about things. It's a perfectly risk-free pastime, since I never have to prove any of them. It's just my opinion, after all, based on a rumination, which grew out of a random thought, which began as a mere zygote of a formless hunch.
You Mystery Shoppers have spoken: Assisted living communities do a bad job making a good first impression. If true, it's definitely a problem, and I'd thank you for sharing if I knew your real names.
If you're looking for an inspirational nugget to share at stand-up tomorrow morning, I might just have something for you.
Gardening is magic. Gardening is mindfulness. Gardening is therapist, physician and personal trainer without spandex or a copay. And now researchers have confirmed that gardening can help nursing home patients suffering with dementia.
In the evidence-based healthcare world, you need to become a real Sherlock (or Shirley) Holmes to take your clues (data) and put them together logically (analyze the data) to make analytics-based decisions to solve your facility's most challenging mysteries.
I'm obsessed by mountains, particularly the ones I'm staring at right now in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Marvelous, epic monoliths of rock and ice, they dominate and intimidate. "Look up here, you tiny, transient human writing your little long-term care articles," they're taunting. "We've been here forever. You want a piece of us?"
Research shows cynical people die younger and are three times more likely to get dementia? Yeah, right. I'd like to see who paid for that study. And I just read on the Internet that evil corporations representing big-cynicism interests are conspiring to kill innovations in positive attitude in order to keep distrust and pessimism thriving. So change is hopeless. Why bother trying?
That new CNA ran over your foot with the med cart. Someone else is getting the promotion you expected. A resident's family member said horrible things about you. A coworker stole your shift — and your husband.
Just so you know, I've been pulling two, 12-hour shifts of living per day for the past 53 years, and I'm exhausted. I work when I sleep and I sleep when I work, which means I don't do either one very well. I've even talked to my supervisor about this, to no avail. He's an unreasonable ogre named Gary Tetz, and all he cares about is himself.
Sometimes in business — and particularly in the long-term care business — it can be useful to see things from a fresh, unexpected perspective.
On a scale of A to 17, with one being "Always" and red being "Parsnips," how would you rate your experience with customer satisfaction surveys? I'm sure most of you use them, though I haven't done a survey to back that up.
It was a simple question, one I've asked before in moments of extreme desperation. But this time, the answer went beyond merely helpful.
We're pretty full of ourselves. I'm talking about the collective "us," a nation of smug egocentrics, not about you and me.
I experienced many crushing disappointments growing up. A trespassing fairy with a tooth fetish didn't leave a dime under my pillow? Ernie and Bert aren't brothers? Affordable healthcare isn't a right? But the worst was realizing I was too old to be a prodigy. There's an age limit, apparently, or maybe it's height or weight. Regardless, I didn't qualify.
It wasn't expected. He just up and died. One day he was happily walking the Earth with the rest of us, the next he was gone. I barely knew him and don't know the back-story, just that it happened at home, where he lived alone, and that he left an accordion. I know that because it's mine now.
If you're weary of pursuing constant improvement and innovation in long-term care, take inspiration from Burger King.
My initial plan was to get up early to write this column. Refreshed and invigorated by a good night's sleep, I would leap out of bed with synapses alert and firing, and my inspired mind would cut through the task at hand like a freshly sharpened chain saw. And this time I would do it alone. Without coffee. Just to prove I could.
They say confession is good for the soul, so here goes. I'm having an affair — with my smartphone. What started with a few innocent conversations and some harmless texting quickly became an obsession, and the two of us now sleep together every night. I finally admitted this to my wife, but she says she already knew.
I've written a lot about ageism. About how people don't value the contributions of seniors. About how long-term care residents are invisible and forgotten. About kids these days, and why they don't respect their elders. As raving tangents go, I'm generally not bullish on the prospects for societal culture change. But after recently traveling to Washington, D.C., with 10 World War II veterans and their 14 caregivers, I might have to reconsider.
Pondering difficult end-of-life situations made me think, naturally, of Chevy Chase.
I'm sure you remember the old joke: "Why are nursing homes so noisy? Because we forget people actually live there." Oh sorry, that's not a joke. My mistake.
Every product or community goes through a life cycle that includes these stages: Development, Growth, Maturity, Saturation and Death. At Maturity, a product/community begins to become irrelevant, outdated and no longer competitive due to changing consumer demands.
We insomniacs know sleep is important. We've read all the studies, usually late at night when we can't sleep. We're very aware that insomnia is shortening our lives, and that our knowledge of that fact is worsening our insomnia.
Nursing facilities have always faced an array of obligations in order to provide services to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, which can sometimes seem burdensome in comparison with other providers. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as the healthcare reform law, is yet another example of how nursing facilities remain a target - the notable new obligation is the mandatory compliance program requirement. Adoption and implementation of compliance programs has previously been voluntary, although encouraged.
Food. I eat it, savor it, crave it and can't seem to live without it — and I suspect I'm not alone. Talk to any long-term care resident, and he or she will almost certainly list it as one of the most important factors in his or her dissatisfaction, right behind the low quality of the coffee and the bad attitude of that new aide who hands out meds like the recipients have leprosy.
The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on the unpleasant subject of workplace harassment. At issue is whether an employer is responsible when the bully is not strictly a boss.
A long-term care administrator I know had a little surprise for a prospective employee during a recent job interview. When the candidate began rhapsodizing about all the valuable time she'd accrued in the profession, he looked over his glasses and asked, "So, do you really have five years of experience, or just one year five times?"
It is often said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but that is not totally true. You can teach an old dog new tricks; it's just difficult. In the case of this old dog, it took a near-death experience.
I've driven up and down Oregon's Columbia River Gorge roughly 486 times, give or take a thousand, for the past three decades.
Margaret was just one of those people. She always wore a smile and a bright yellow sweater, and staff and residents at her assisted living community called her "Sunshine."
I should have known right then that too much job-related stress was finally getting to me.
If blatant displays of disinterested hostility were an Olympic event, I know a nurse who would have taken the gold — and maybe the silver and bronze as well.
Shy people hate crosswalks. I know, because I'm a shy person — and I hate crosswalks.
Howard Gleckman, Urban Institute senior researcher