The World According to Dr. El by Eleanor Feldman Barbera, Ph.D.
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.
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…
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…
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.”
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…
While crises often have short- and long-term negative effects, psychologists have found that there also can be opportunities for positive change.
What if, instead of a system based on the notion that nursing homes should be punished for deliberately flouting the rules, the underlying belief was that facilities were trying to do their best?
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.
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.
Be sure to include inadequate emotional support of staff around pandemic-related stresses to the long list of failures regarding lack of investment in long-term care 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…
The COVID-19 health emergency has opened a rare window of receptivity in society to recognize the needs of elders and their caregivers.
A low census caused by things like the pandemic can lead to the challenge of balancing the urgency of filling the beds with the risks of admitting residents that the team is clinically unable to manage.
Even a long-term care psychologist can fall prey to the psychological and emotional terrors of the COVID-19 pandemic, I can unfortunately report to you with ironic confidence.
Here is some advice from staff members of New York City nursing homes hit early in the pandemic.
“We can’t worry about keeping the virus out [of nursing homes], we have to figure out how to live with it.” It’s a sobering comment that rings true to me.
Returning soul to long-term care, as the system needs, should include the expansion of psychology services.
As the country reexamines long-held practices concerning diversity and areas of unfairness, perhaps long-term care will reconsider its own policies, payment structures and assumptions.
In the mental health world, we encourage people to try to learn and grow from tragedy. I hope we in the long-term care world can do the same with the current pandemic conditions.
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.