It’s conference time for long-term care, and COVID-19 is on the menu. A lot of it.

Just look at the lineup for Wednesday, Day 2 of the LeadingAge annual conference. Among the offerings: “Staff and Resident Screening Technology During COVID-19,” “PR Lessons From COVID-19: Where Do We Go From Here,” and “Skilled Nursing Quality Care: Realities Under COVID.” (I might be crazy, but it seems like we are in the middle of a pandemic!)

If only the rest of the world felt the same. As cases in nursing homes and their surrounding communities soar around the country, prompting experts to compare this period to the 1918 flu, we are dealing, once again, with a question of whether people are truly taking this public health crisis seriously.

But, the reality is, for those who work in long-term care, doing battle against COVID-19 on a daily basis, such overarching problems as whether people outside their facilities wear masks cannot be their concern. They can only address what is ahead of and around them in their four walls.

Which brings me to “COVID-19: Planning for the Future,” an educational session that I attended last week (virtually, of course) as part of the NADONA conference. In it, Linda Savage, president of clinical education and infection prevention at SavaSeniorCare Consulting, talked about the importance of directors of nursing managing what is in their control. For example, they can’t do anything to change what the media says about them, but they can affect how their facilities handle infection control. Or improve staff morale. Or help themselves, staff and residents cope with grief.

It’s a great message for the rest of us — a powerful reminder that if we just took painstaking care of our mental and physical health and nurtured the pivotal relationships in our lives, we might, in fact, all end up making a greater difference in the world around us.

Liza Berger is Senior Editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Follow her @LizaBerger19.