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

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Guest Columns

Forgiveness in leadership

Third time is a charm. For 2021, I’ve taken on a new challenge for my “Living Leadership” blog. Each month there are words embedded in my blog that come directly from one of our nation’s top thought leaders.  Here’s the first round, In case you missed that installment. Selfishly, I am having a blast reading…

Personal Care Attendants add more hands to the frontlines of long-term care

As America’s population grows older and drives up demand for long-term care, nursing centers are continuing their decades-long struggle to fill direct care positions — the qualified caregivers who meet the daily needs of residents. The impact of COVID-19 on staff has greatly exacerbated these workforce challenges. Nursing homes must deal with staff calling out…

When access isn’t enough: Promoting COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among minority, frontline nursing home workers

Nursing home staff are working tirelessly to protect our most vulnerable population against COVID-19, but many remain wary about getting vaccinated. The issue is particularly acute among minority groups, consistent with data and polls among the general population. Herd immunity depends on reaching high vaccination rates across the nation, so vaccine hesitancy is of growing…

How to handle the mental health crisis looming in America’s nursing homes

The coronavirus pandemic has been truly exhausting for us all, but one group in particular seems to be facing the worst the pandemic has to offer without receiving much of the support and recognition that they truly deserve: long-term care staff. They have dutifully suffered in silence, but their emotional and mental health is at…

Making the loneliness epidemic a mainstream problem, finally

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging this summer, a senior living facility in North Carolina began posting photos on its Facebook page, each showing a resident holding a sign that listed the person’s first name and hobbies. There was Linda, who likes art, music and reading. Pauline, who enjoys rabbits and the Bible. Alex, who…

Another COVID-19 symptom: Dueling liability decisions

If you thought you had a clear read on how courts would interpret federal COVID-19 liability protections, think again. After a set back last fall, there appears to be some good news for providers after all.   In December 2020, I shared how a federal court in Pennsylvania ruled against a nursing home’s liability protection claim…

The shortest distance between two points

Prior to 1816, it was common practice for doctors to place their ears to patients’ chests to detect the workings of hearts, lungs and other organs.  That year, French physician Rene Laennec, who was uncomfortable placing his ear against the chest of a young female patient, invented the first stethoscope. Laennec’s stethoscope was around 12…

How we used machine learning to reduce rehospitalizations

In late 2020, I applied for a technology grant through a machine-learning technology company that builds customized, machine-learning tools based on a facility’s retrospective EHR and rehospitalization data. My organization, Masonic Pathways, a Life Plan Community in the heart of Michigan, is no stranger to understanding the importance of reducing resident rehospitalization rates. We currently…
Marti Moore

Now is the time to remove the slippers

The noise overhead was deafening. I had relocated to the basement as the roofers tore off old and added new. Because of schedule delays, the roofing project careened into a day when I was scheduled to present virtually.  Chaos and noise surrounded me. Knowing I needed to be attentive, I grabbed my earbuds and plugged…
Vice President and Corporate Medical Officer of Presbyterian Senior Living

Questions to ponder as herd immunity remains out of reach

Experts estimate that herd immunity for COVID-19 will be reached when 75–85%  of the U.S. population has received the COVID-19 vaccine.  But long-term care — including nursing homes and assisted living communities — form a distinct population that should be considered separately. These are congregate settings, where residents are largely confined onsite and whose caregivers…

Five-Star surveys: Changed forever?

When the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services unlocked survey ratings for the first time since April, we analysts dove into the numbers expecting big changes. But as an earlier McKnight’s article points out, there wasn’t that much movement.  Why? One obvious factor is the dearth of new standard surveys. The latest data from CMS…

Improve early illness recognition with two simple tools

Early illness recognition is central to managing resident condition change and reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations. Every staff member, provider and family play a role in identifying when a resident has a condition change. By using consistent processes for communication and reporting condition change, diagnosis and treatment can start early — decreasing the likelihood that a hospital…

Ethical principles: Respect for those we serve

My mother’s name was called, and we left the waiting room to approach the hospital desk to complete paperwork for her outpatient procedure. The clerk immediately began to ask me questions. “What is her full name? What is her address?” Embarrassed for the admittance clerk and my mother, I suggested, “Why don’t you ask her?” …

CNA workforce at a breaking point

COVID-19 is now responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 residents and staff in the 15,000 nursing homes in this country. I’ve been in this field 40 years —as a certified nursing assistant, an administrator, company executive and now as head of NAHCA — and I have never seen so many CNAs feel as…

COVID-19 underscores PDPM advantages

The efficacy of the Patient-Driven Payment Model has never been clearer than now, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. PDPM enabled skilled nursing facilities to see a 9% increase in Medicare reimbursement in the early days of the outbreak, according to analysis by Zimmet Healthcare Services Group and Claim Outcomes and Reimbursement Essentials, a…

How COVID-19 unmasked ageism

For every occasion, even a pandemic, there appears to be a hashtag. One used to describe the coronavirus was particularly vile, particularly cruel: #BoomerRemover. There is, tragically, some truth to it, as COVID-19 has shown itself to be especially deadly among those 65 and over. That age group accounts for nearly 69% of the 385,000-plus…

Side effects of medicine and hope

I got the first step. The first step of the vaccine gave me a headache, a sore arm and the euphoric  feeling of hope for release from the restrictions, illness and death that have literally plagued us for  nearly a year.  I’m pleased that I had side effects. This means that even at my (advanced)…

What 2021 has in store on the legal front

Everyone has been celebrating that 2020 is over, and who can blame them? Yet, I can’t help think the legal issues facing long term care in 2020 won’t necessarily go away in 2021. Some of the lingering issues are problems, and some are just changing the way facilities operate, sometimes for the better. Here is…

What’s really through the looking glass?

A recent Washington Post op-ed by Manoj Jain, M.D. an infectious disease consultant, shed light on a healthcare sector where roughly 1.7 million people acquire infections each year, killing roughly 100,000. Perhaps two-fifths of those infections could be prevented just by proper hand-washing. That sector is not nursing homes: It is hospitals. This annual death…
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