The World According to Dr. El

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.

Implementing an employee recognition program: Tips for success

I recently focused on the benefits of recognition and key points in choosing a recognition program. Now I'd like to address how to implement your chosen employee recognition program so that it becomes an energizing and integral part of your organization, rather than a short-lived promotion that fizzles after its initial burst of enthusiasm.

The very anxious resident: A team approach

I've developed a set of suggestions for working with "challenging," anxious residents, who can disrupt everyone around them. If caregivers don't have sound strategies like these, patients, caregivers and others will suffer.

In the wake of a nursing home double-homicide: How to meet mental health needs and prevent violence

News of the recent double-homicide in a Houston nursing home arrived the morning I was to speak to a group gathered to address the needs of younger residents in long-term care. It didn't escape anyone in the audience how serious this topic is. What can organizations do to respond to this terrible news and to reduce the chances that a similar situation could happen in their facilities? Plenty.

Battling depression: Advice on how to make seniors feel valued by others

Senior living providers can design programs that increase the opportunities for residents to be valued within their communities and in the outside world. They have nothing to lose but high depression rates. Here are some ideas to start with.

The Eldercare Method: Using psychology for positive outcomes

Those of us in long-term care have undoubtedly witnessed incidents where residents become agitated and staff members don't have the tools to prevent or manage their distress. Unfortunately, psychologists — who could offer such tools — are largely limited in the current reimbursement model to providing individual services to cognitively intact residents.

I finally visit a Green House (and it blows my mind!)

In my last post, I discussed culture change and its positive impact on the mental health of the residents, particularly at Eden Alternative facilities. I recently also had the opportunity to tour a Green House, which I'd heard about but had never seen. I found this model turned everything I'd known about nursing homes upside down.

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