Hats off to the organizers of various long-term and senior care conventions this fall. You presented a whirlwind of eye-opening information, networking and other opportunities.

Below are some of the striking tidbits from notes that might or might not have already seen the light of day. Some of this is just too good not to share, or share again.

All of these were uttered from the mouths of experts in their various fields, incidentally.

If you attended one of the major meetings this fall and didn’t learn something, that’s on you. The offerings were plentiful. You couldn’t have digested it all, but there’s no reason to have come away empty.

Some truths you just shouldn’t ignore:

  • The word among experts is there have been no major cyber-security hacks involving long-term care operators. Yet. This is expected to change.
  • Texting was a popular discussion topic in several sessions. One legal expert advised NOT having a “no texting” policy because then you would be assured of violations. Docs will blow right through that stop sign, putting you in a potentially ticklish situation. Texting is unstoppable. Deal with it in a reasoned way, and get your staff on board.
  • More “granny cams” are likely in your future. “They never show anything good,” lamented one expert attorney. But he laid odds that regulators are going to allow them more and more due to pressure from families and lawmakers.
  • Isolation and loneliness are the “elephant in the room” when discussing resident care hurdles. (Paging Dr. Bill Thomas … Dr. Thomas, please … ) It was noted the United Kingdom even has a minister of loneliness to help the afflicted there. The main takeaway: having sense of community and purpose chases the elephant away, enhances life expectancy and drops depression rates as well.
  • Hurricanes are not the biggest or hardest emergency situation to deal with, providers living in their path said. It’s that loss of power or unexpected tree on the roof that an operator has to be ready for — anywhere, any time. Lunch and the med passes can’t wait. “Simple solutions” are the planning order of the day. “If it can’t be executed, it can’t help,” one session moderator reminded.
  • Inadequate staffing is the “biggest risk we face,” said a top exec from one of the biggest skilled nursing owners in the country. Staff breakdowns and retention concerns are nothing new, he quickly added, noting in his best Nietzsche-ian interpretation that if you can weather that storm, you’ll be that much stronger.
  • Behavioral health. If you haven’t faced added pressures to care for more “problem” residents in this realm, naturally without added resources, count yourself lucky. And in the minority.
  • The Patient-Drive Payment Model does not mean it will be time to ditch or cut back on your MDS coordinator budget. On the contrary.
  • Robotics will continue to grow in influence. Before they make a big dent in caregiving duties, we’ll see a LOT more surgeries done with them.
  • From the banking/political realm: Term limits are needed for politicians. Paraphrasing a top quote: If politicians knew they would have to go back to their “regular” jobs, they would do things a lot differently. So true.
  • Everybody can use some good marketing advice. The Best “did ya know” from a show, in a session focusing on baby boomers: Teen-agers weren’t created as a market until post-World War II. I didn’t know.
  • The “silver wave” was originally thought to start arriving in 2017. Put it three to five years out now, one long-time operator said.
  • Respond to both bad AND good comments on your social media accounts. You can have three standard replies ready to cut-and-paste in. Even this will make you look more humanized than if you did nothing. Always remember that social media is all about one thing: Creating a relationship(s).
  • Getting back to cyber safety and liability issues, remind employees (and yourself) to not store sensitive data or private information reside on the “face” of a laptop or phone. If they get misplaced or stolen, you’re toast. You could be in for a ton of cautious notifications, embarrassment and possibly very high costs.

And, finally, a top legal-eagle reminded that risk management shouldn’t be a plan. It should saturate the culture on your campus. As she explained, “It’s what your company is.”

Follow Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.