Behavioral health care — not drugs — for dementia

For the treatments to help dementia patients, turn to behavioral health solutions, not antipsychotic drugs. Just like others around the world.

7 powerful ways to deliver family-centered care

When a resident enters long-term care, we tend to focus solely on the needs of the resident, even though they're almost always part of a family system that is being affected by their placement. If we consider that we're admitting families rather than just the residents themselves, we'd recognize the need to provide family-centered care in addition to resident-centered care.

The high cost of rudeness

Given the stresses of caregiving and the complexities of human relationships, incivility happens. But considering the potential impact of rudeness on care, we need to do more to understand and prevent rudeness when we can. Here's how to start.

Spirituality in long-term care

In the beginning of my long-term care career, I quickly recognized that in order to be of service in this environment, I needed to come to a spiritual understanding of how such nice people could be dealing with such difficult illnesses. This was important because psychology graduate school, much like med school classes, definitely had not focused on clients' spiritual needs.

Dr. El's Shrinky LTC Fantasy

I hung up the phone with the managed care case reviewer. The patient in question was in her late 50s, with multiple sclerosis and other physical problems that had left her bed-bound. What else would need to happen to get her more than a month of treatment? An amputation? The death of her only child?

Diabetes care: Take two betta fish and call me in a week

These days, with organizations being penalized for rehospitalizations and closely monitored on clinical outcomes, it would probably be very worthwhile to provide a group of elders with some pet fish, food and a tank — along with their own self-care training before discharge or after diagnosis.

Creating better deaths in long-term care

Residents and their families count on us to support them along the emotional and often frightening path of end-of-life care. We can help our residents have a "good" death and make the experience less painful for their families — and us, as LTC workers.

The Goodbye Guide: Why and how to terminate tenderly in LTC

I believe leave-takings in long-term care are more important than in other settings and that the style of departure should be given more consideration.

Harnessing gratitude

Though it was close to 20 years ago, I'll never forget the reaction of one of my patients to losing both of her legs to diabetes. Residents like her make it quite clear that it is possible to be grateful and to live fully, despite disability.

Psychologists open up about LTC sex and dementia

A recent high-profile court case in Iowa highlighted the challenges that arise when considering capacity, sexual activity and the senior living environment. Long-term care psychologists met recently to sort the issues.