The World According to Dr. El

The World According to Dr. El by Eleanor Feldman Barbera, Ph.D.

Celebrate Psychology Day on May 27

While it would be wonderful to have a systemwide honoring of psychology, psychologists and mental health, even small gestures of acknowledgement can go a long way toward emotional repair, in these pandemic-stressed days in particular.

Conversations with COVID-19 survivors

The more I do this work, the more apparent it is to me that mental health support is essential, regardless of whether or not there’s a global catastrophe.

Grim but unwavering: Notes from the COVID-19 epicenter

Hopefully, facilities in other parts of the country will be spared what we’re going through in New York City, where 1 in 4 facilities had COVID residents as of last week’s reports. It is, in a word, grim.

Addressing residents’ coronavirus fears

Despite their general calm and resilience, it’s perfectly reasonable for residents to have questions and concerns about the coronavirus and its potential spread.

And the Oscar goes to…

Rather than stew about the overdressed, self-congratulators flaunting at the Academy Awards ceremony, I’ve decided to give out my own Oscars — to the loving, deserving stakeholders in the various elements of long-term care.

A resolution to serve physical and mental health

With new options for plant-based foods proliferating, 2020 is a great time to assess your facility’s menu with the dietary and food service departments to consider substitutions and alternatives.

The Minister for Loneliness in LTC

We have recreation departments that encourage resident socialization, but a Minister for Loneliness could do so much more. The Minister also could target staff loneliness and the isolation of those in the community.

Life on the road as an LTC shrink

It wasn’t a world tour, but I did come away with some interesting observations regarding our field on a recent road trip.

What worries me about trauma-informed care

It’s a good thing to pay more attention to the emotional experience of residents, but I’m worried about how asking them about their traumas — which is mandated in a new rule about to go into effect — will be implemented in the field.

Severely mentally ill residents: Staff training, teamwork needed

Nurses and physicians can be taught to recognize health problems typical of the severe mental illness population so that they’ll be alert to the increased risk of illnesses such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity-related cancers, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, hepatitis B/C, tuberculosis, impaired lung function, poor dental status and other concerns.

Secret shoppers in LTC

While long-term care facilities might not be able to gather information easily from sham residents, SNF leaders who want to illuminate the important, human details behind dry customer service statistics might find these ideas useful.
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