John O’Connor

It’s easy to see why so many skilled care operators are focused on the big-ticket questions.

Matters like: What will PDPM really mean to me? How do I find and keep qualified staff? Might homecare or assisted living operators steal my residents? Should I consider new services? Will Medicare be around to help pay my bills in 10 years?

These are no trifling concerns. For each has the potential to dramatically alter any organization’s fate. Carl Sagan wasn’t kidding when he stated that survival is the exception and extinction is the rule. It’s as true for long-term care as it is for biology.

To be sure, we at McKnight’s will continue to do our level best to keep you informed about developments in important, high-interest areas.

But what about the important but boring developments that come along? We may not like these vegetables, so to speak. But is it wise to simply ignore them?

I was thinking about this editorial challenge when I recently stumbled across an item that could be described as boring but potentially significant. In case you didn’t see it (and the odds are pretty good you didn’t), the Food and Drug Administration released some rather interesting guidance on June 27. Essentially, the agency encouraged drug manufacturers to pursue heart failure treatments, even if the resulting medications don’t help improve survival rates or reduce hospitalization risks.

Yawn-fest development, right? Now hold on for just a second.

The reality is that heart failure affects more people in the United States than Alzheimer’s disease (6.5 million versus 5.9 million, according to federal statistics).

But beyond the sheer numbers, there’s another reason why this directive could affect your day job. The resulting medicines might help your residents retain or regain more independence. For example, less fatigued residents might be better able to carry out activities of daily living, including walking, dressing, toileting or eating.

Such results would seem to have important resident care and staffing implications for the field. Just wish I could find some way to get that boring message noticed …

John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s