Dr. El's 'Quality of Life' star ratings are the way to go

After writing about turnover in my last column, I wondered what might happen if high marks were also awarded to facilities for strong staff retention, which has been positively correlated with better care. From there, I began to imagine an entire rating system based on my view of long-term care. Quality of life, not necessarily care, would be rewarded.

The tumult of turnover

I once rode down a crowded afternoon elevator with the CEO of a managed care company. "It must be 5:01," he commented wryly. I heard a measure of scorn for his employees' lack of dedication to the job. What I saw was a group of people fleeing from utterly uninspiring and unappreciated work.

Dr. El's Theory of Angry Activities

There's a lot of stress in our buildings. I'm not suggesting nightly "primal scream" sessions, but we could add into the rotation some activities where residents get to be "bad," or at least aren't expected to be so darn good all the time.

Vacation envy, or 'How to get your groove back'

Our work is important and the attitude with which we complete our tasks matters. If your vacation break is behind you, or so far ahead that you wonder how you're going to make it, try these ideas to re-energize and add zip to your workday.

Suicide prevention in the workplace: What employers need to know

As I prepared for this article, I realized that we don't hear much in the industry news outlets about suicide among our staff members. But that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Enhancing organizational communication improves outcomes, reduces adverse incidents

There will always be adverse events in any health system, but strengthening communication between team members and between different levels within the organization can improve outcomes and reduce the likelihood of becoming front page news.

To reduce burnout and turnover, improve family-staff relationships

People who travel tend to be happier with their jobs and companies than those who don't. This is a research finding that long-term care managers and operators definitely should heed.

The ticklish balancing act: Resident rights vs. care quality

Balancing the rights and desires of residents with the need of the facility to avoid citation and litigation can be very tricky, but the payoff can be definitely worth it when done right. Here's how.

Why it's impossible to maintain prior levels of care quality, and what to do about it

Residents and their family members are likely to expect that when they enter long-term care, staff members will provide compassionate medical treatment. Instead, what they frequently find are stressed out nurses and overworked aides.

The importance of leadership in creating good deaths in LTC

In one of the more disturbing encounters I've had in long-term care — in a 5-Star deficiency-free nursing home — I offered my condolences to an aide on the loss of a resident she'd cared for over a period of two years. I never expected the response I got.