Dear Diary, Last week I attended my first AHCA convention ...

There's nothing like the first time you get to meet people, attend education sessions and see the exhibit hall at the American Health Care Association, as I found out last week. If you weren't there, you missed a lot.

Creative activities for residents with dementia

While conducting a training session last week in Montana, I was lucky enough to have a group of more than 100 staff members from various long-term care departments share some excellent suggestions on how to engage residents with dementia. They're too good to pass up.

Preventing difficult family situations

From a psychological perspective, here are some ideas to prevent or reduce disagreements with residents and their family members over care, thereby decreasing the likelihood that a situation will result in legal action.

Reducing antipsych meds: 5 ways psychologists can help

With the mandate to reduce the use of antipsychotics, many facilities are looking for alternative methods to address the behaviors often associated with dementia. There are several good resources available for training staff, including your consulting psychologist. Here's how he or she can help:

Taking vacations when residents can't do the same

Like many, I'm taking some vacation time during the month of August. It got me thinking about the ways workers interact with residents when they take time off from their jobs. It's more important than you might first think.

The psychology of falls in long-term care

According to the American Geriatrics Society, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year. Falls represent the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. You might be surprised to hear some of the contributing factors of falls and the psychology behind them. I also have advice on ways residents and staff can reduce the likelihood of falls.

What if psychologists ruled the (LTC) world...

While most psychologists almost exclusively address the mental health of nursing residents due to the current reimbursement system, we're also aware of the interactions between staff members, families, the physical setting and the organizational culture. Here are some of important things psychologists might do to address the emotional climate of long-term care.

Preventing burnout in long-term care

In my recent post, "Stuff I won't do for residents and why your staff shouldn't either," I wrote about the need for individual workers to set appropriate boundaries around caregiving in order to retain the ability to give without burning out. In this article, I examine more closely the symptoms of burnout and ways facilities can reduce its likelihood — which is particularly important given the link between burnout and turnover.

Take this to the bank: How to reduce money stress for LTC residents

In my conversations with hundreds of long-term care residents over the years, I've found money to be an almost universally sore subject among them. Financial concerns continue to be a stressor for our residents even though they're living in the mostly money-free society of LTC. With some adjustments we can — and should — reduce our residents' financial distress.

The psychology behind good customer service (and why it's more important than you think)

We may talk about the term "customer service" and ask our staff members to avoid public arguments in front of residents and family members. But nevertheless, volatile situations happen every day. It matters a lot, and here are the psychological implications why.

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