Guest columns & blogs | McKnight's Long Term Care News

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Guest Columns

Navigating the stress of the long COVID-19 journey

The last 18 months have been brutal for virtually everyone and every position within long-term care. Long hours, isolation from family and friends, implementing new polices and procedures due to COVID-19, making deeper relationships with residents and then losing those friends, personal stress due to childcare and schooling issues, fear for one’s own safety .…

When less is more: The role of deprescribing and art of medication management

More prescriptions do not necessarily mean better health outcomes. Deprescribing, which is the planned and supervised process of intentionally stopping a medication or reducing its dose, is a critically important part of delivering safe, effective, patient-centered care, especially for older adults.  I commend AMDA — the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine — for…

Great moments in unintended LTC consequences

Reason.com publishes a video feature called “Great Moments in Unintended Consequences.” Each episode features three problems, three “solutions,” and comical coverage of the unanticipated results. For example, “The Luxury Yacht Tax.” The year: 1990. The problem: the national debt is exploding. The solution: a 10% luxury tax on expensive boats.  Narrator: “Sounds like a great…

The Missouri Paradox

Just when you thought summer was going well, we now have surges in Missouri and Arkansas of the COVID-19 Delta variant. That’s right, these past few weeks your sunny summer was clouded by news that the coronavirus has made a comeback in Missouri, and the highly contagious Delta variant in particular has been linked to…

Drug diversion, a series: How to prevent and spot it

Drug diversion occurs when prescription medicines are obtained or used illegally. While diversion has always been a concern, without question, COVID-19 certainly increased personal stress and pressure on workers in long-term care, potentially leading to increased diversion.  Further, COVID-19 disrupted facility management, including diversion control programs.  This column is the first in a two-part series…

Oh where, oh where have the annual surveys gone?

During the height of the pandemic, annual surveys of skilled nursing facilities understandably skidded to a stop. Flash forward to August 2020, when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services directed state survey agencies to begin conducting standard surveys again. But while infection control surveys were common and plentiful during the last year and a…

Natural gas leak near facility highlights the importance of planning

Incidents like the one that is about to be summarized emphasize the importance of hazard analysis as required by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Emergency Preparedness Rule. Knowing the potential threats and perils both inside of a facility as well as outside of the built-environment will help healthcare providers appropriately plan for emergencies…

COVID-19 dealt a devastating blow to nursing homes — don’t let looming cuts make it worse

In late June, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released a report stating that approximately 42% of Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes were diagnosed with COVID-19 or likely COVID-19 in 2020. This is a devastating number and is likely low because it does not include Medicaid beneficiaries or other non-Medicare patients. …

CMP grant receives phenomenal nursing retention results, even during pandemic!

Tobin and Associates, Inc. received a Civil Monetary Penalty Grant to implement a Nurse Leadership Training Program in Ohio from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2020. The purpose of this grant was to evaluate if training nurse leaders in team-building leadership skills would affect nursing turnover and resident and family satisfaction. The project concentrated…

Potential False Claims Act liability for nursing homes

The FCA is the Department of Justice’s key tool in combating healthcare fraud and abuse The False Claims Act (FCA) provides a remedy of civil damages when a party 1) makes a false statement or engages in a fraudulent course of conduct that is done with 2) knowledge that was 3) material and 4) caused…

A caregiver named Sammy

It is not an unusual story. A 90-year-old man suddenly is having trouble breathing, his heart is enlarged, and his kidneys are slowing down in their functioning. A care conference is called and the family, along with the elderly man discuss options for treatment or not. In the end, the decision is made to not…

‘Keep it simple’ is just not in our nature

I asked all the leadership at New Choice Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to bring me their department-specific resident assessment tools. They were to leave them on my desk by 5 p.m. When I returned the next day, I got to work picking through the considerable stack of tools and categorizing them into the specific resident…

President Biden, tear down this wall

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” Thomas Sowell “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” Thomas Sowell…

Cultural competency is integral to quality care

The country is changing, and fast. Studies show that racial and ethnic minorities account for most, if not all, of the country’s population growth as of late.  “Nationally, the U.S. grew by 19.5 million people between 2010 and 2019 — a growth rate of 6.3%. While the white population declined by a fraction of a…
David Barmak, Esq.

An effective approach to addressing sexual harassment

In 1986, the Supreme Court held that workplace harassment constitutes sex discrimination and is unlawful under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1991, the Supreme Court nomination hearings for Clarence Thomas transfixed the public’s attention, when Anita Hill accused Thomas of sexual harassment at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, prompting many women to come…

Vaccine hesitancy? Or vaccine denial?

Spring has sprung and I am finally seeing my neighbors in their yards again. We’re washing cars,  watering seedlings, rototilling and playing with our dogs. I have a neighbor who is a very smart and enterprising nurse who works in a local emergency room. We recently finally got a chance to talk after all these…

Long-term care needs your help!

The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our nation. For long-term care providers, including nursing facilities and assisted living centers, the pandemic has exacerbated our chronic challenges of a severe caregiver shortage, inadequate government payment and for some, an antiquated building infrastructure. Through it all, our courageous, devoted and hardworking caregivers showed up for work every day…
Rachel Shearer

Building staff confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines

Six months after the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, just 55% of the CNAs, nurses and therapists who work at our 50-bed skilled nursing facility have chosen to get vaccinated. It’s a challenge, as I’m sure many other nursing facility administrators agree. We know how important it is for our staff members, especially direct care…
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