The World According to Dr. El

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

5 strategies to promote mental health in long-term care

Last week, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka chose to forgo mandatory but anxiety-producing post-event press interviews to protect her mental health. She was fined $15,000 by tennis officials and, after being threatened with expulsion from the French Open, withdrew from the event.  This decision by the world’s highest-paid female athlete has thrust the importance of emotional…

Post-pandemic population may require higher staffing levels

Before the pandemic, residents were admitted for rehabilitation following elective surgery or a health crisis. The rehab residents either returned home or joined the group of long-term residents who had previously arrived in a similar fashion.  Now, as the threat of COVID-19 recedes from long-term care, we are left with empty beds from a reduction…

5 ways to reduce late-pandemic staff burnout

Most residents and workers are vaccinated and COVID-19 rates in nursing homes have plummeted, so everything should be great, right? According to a recent article in StatNews, not quite. In “As the Covid-19 crisis ebbs in the U.S., experts brace for some to experience psychological fallout,” author Andrew Joseph reports that it’s only after an…

The pandemic narrative, a tool for mental health

Comparisons between April 2020 and April 2021 are surprisingly jolting in some ways. Not until I composed this blog did I fully realize how far we’ve come, regarding pandemic conditions, and life in general.

Anticipating anniversary reactions

The coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic one year ago this month. The news is filled with articles reflecting on the dramatic changes in our lives from last year to this — lost jobs, remote school, canceled events, illness.  For those in long-term care, this week last year began the pandemic visitor restrictions, and for…

Is your facility prepared for returning families?

If all goes well, over the next few weeks there will be an increasing number of family members visiting their loved ones in the nursing home, many for the first time in a year. Along with the joy and relief of these reunions, we can expect to observe a great deal of sadness over time…

The emotional impact of pandemic secrecy

As a geropsychologist and a New Yorker, I’ve been relieved to see the after-the-fact uncovering of the true number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes in New York last year.

We’re vaccinated. Now what?

Across the country, long-term care facilities are vaccinating their staff and residents, with approximately 3.1 million doses delivered as of last week and rates of COVID-19 infection in nursing home residents declining for the past four weeks.  This excellent news leads to questions about how the vaccination rollout will impact the daily lives of staff…

Addressing vaccine hesitancy

The first of the month, the COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the facility where I work. In the days before its arrival, the “campus” was buzzing with conversation about who was getting the shot, who wasn’t and why.  Throughout U.S. nursing homes, an average of 29% of long-term care workers have been hesitant to accept the…

The Equalizer: A holiday story from the ‘Before’ time

She told me about her life via handwritten notes and the occasional use of a talking computer that verbalized what she painstakingly typed out. “I’ve been a cripple ever since I got polio as a girl. I never had a job.”

Managing a bah humbug holiday season

By now many of us have viewed the viral video of residents gleefully shooting soft foam balls at laughing staff members dressed as reindeer dodging through a pine-tree “forest.”  It’s the kind of merriment suitable for the 2020 holidays — one that uses humor and playful defiance to release pent-up frustrations.  Under normal circumstances, spending…

Coping advice from nursing home residents

As we face the gloomy prospect of a pandemic winter, I consulted some experts for suggestions on how to handle difficult periods in life — nursing home residents.

Act now to avert a holiday season fiasco

The holidays are typically a busy time for long-term care centers, filled with special activities and extra visitors. Because of the pandemic, this year will be much different.

McDonald’s versus long-term care: How nursing homes can compete for staff

Recent calls1, 2, 3 for an increase in nursing staff levels may have providers wondering how to accomplish this. Under normal circumstances it can be challenging to find qualified individuals; the pandemic has added an off-putting level of danger to nursing home work. Two webinars hosted by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News last week offer clues…
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