Welcome to My Better Nursing Home!

The time spent in long-term care can be one of growth, emotional healing, and creativity for residents, staff, and family members.  If you’re wondering how to get there from here, please look through this site and read my blog, where you’ll find answers that will allow you to create positive change instantly, whether you’re a CEO, a CNA, or seeing a loved one in long-term care.

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"My goal is to make long-term care a place I'd want to live when it's my turn, using my training as a psychologist."

Recent Blog Posts

yarn in apile

Dr. El’s subversive guide to culture change

Dr. El - February 2, 2016 - Business Strategies, Customer service, Depression/Mental illness/Substance Abuse, Inspiration, McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Resident education/Support groups

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Dr. El’s subversive guide to culture change We often think of culture change as a formal process initiated by company leaders that involves setting organizational goals and moving employees in big and small ways toward those goals. But culture change also can be a grassroots effort […]

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NHOldBanker

What’s not to like?

Dr. El - January 28, 2016 - Anecdotes, For Fun, Inspiration, Something Good About Nursing Homes

It was the third week I was meeting with Mr. Schwartz, an 85-year old man with a thick mustache and a penchant for suspenders. I found him watching TV in the dayroom, surrounded by some of his peers. I crouched by his wheelchair so I could speak to him at eye level. “Hi Mr. Schwartz, I […]

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NHPills

‘Honest’ placebos help without side-effects, expense

Dr. El - January 19, 2016 - McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Medication issues

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: ‘Honest’ placebos help without side-effects, expense Older residents frequently enter long-term care with multiple medications prescribed for their varying health conditions. In fact, it’s the polypharmacy itself that can bring them to our doors due to harmful medication interactions and symptoms such as dizziness that lead […]

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My Better Nursing Home

A Second Look

Dr. El - January 11, 2016 - Anecdotes, Personal Reflections

As I was rushing past the nursing station, Sophia, a 93-year old woman wearing a red velour sweatsuit, was sobbing and calling out for help. She was sitting among a row of other residents who were watching television and passersby. “What’s the matter?” I asked, stopping to kneel by her wheelchair. “I want someone to […]

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NHFlowers

Growing Good

Dr. El - January 6, 2016 - Business Strategies, Communication, For Staff, McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Motivating staff, Psychology Research Translated, Something Good About Nursing Homes

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Growing Good Woohoo! My first column of 2016. Which was started during a bout of insomnia in the last week of 2015. What did I do when sleep failed me? What electronics-addicted individuals often do in the middle of the night. I grabbed my computer, caught […]

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The Twelve Days of Christmas in LTC

Dr. El - December 23, 2015 - For Fun, McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Something Good About Nursing Homes

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: The Twelve Days of Christmas in LTC There are many givers in senior care facilities. Sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves. This holiday season is a good time to recognize them — and the things that make smiles bright. The Twelve Days of Christmas in […]

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Doctor in shock

7 employee wellness ideas for the holidays (and beyond)

Dr. El - December 8, 2015 - Business Strategies, McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Motivating staff

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: 7 employee wellness ideas for the holidays (and beyond) After a staff training on reducing burnout in long-term care last week, a look through the evaluation forms was illuminating. A significant number of attendees — mostly nursing aides, nurses, and environmental workers — wrote that the […]

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NHSeniorWoman

Kind words from residents

Dr. El - November 23, 2015 - Anecdotes, Inspiration, Personal Reflections, Role of psychologists, Something Good About Nursing Homes

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: Kind words from residents At a conference last week, I remarked to my audience of recreation therapists, “None of us went into this field for the money — we did it for the juice.” And by “the juice,” I mean the good feeling we get from […]

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NHHolidayMeal

Planning for the Holidays

Dr. El - November 20, 2015 - Communication, Engaging with families, For Families, Tips for gifts, visits, Videos

With the start of the holiday season, it’s time for this perennial post from Dr. El:   ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas… And 83-year old Albertha assured me her family was planning to take her home for the holidays. “Have you talked to them about it? Have they called the social worker to arrange a […]

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Leonard Florence ALS unit entrance

The secret to LTC success? A focus on well-being

Dr. El - November 12, 2015 - Business Strategies, Customer service, Dementia, End of life, McKnight's Long-Term Care News, Medication issues, Motivating staff, Resident care

Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News: The secret to LTC success? A focus on well-being Despite the diversity of the events I attended during my brief visit to the LeadingAge convention in Boston last week, a theme clearly emerged. The thread that ran through the varied offerings was well-being. Retaining staff In […]

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