With all the recent restrictions on psychotropic medications in skilled nursing facilities, many facilities find themselves struggling with a resurgence in unwanted resident behaviors that were previously well-managed by anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines and other drugs.
Professional care partners have the desire to see residents flourish using best care practices but lack the education. Once they begin to employ the new techniques, they are shocked to see how residents respond and how bad behaviors diminish.
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:
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.
Back when I worked in psych, one of our most effective tools to improve mental health was maintaining a healing emotional environment, or therapeutic milieu. That's why I was shocked when I first entered long-term care.
Therapy services can be a tricky business when working with residents with a history of "behavioral issues."