Breaking Free From the Caregiver Prison: Can Assisted Living Social Workers Help?

This is the fourth article in a series from Allan Vann, who has shared his experience as a caregiver for his wife, Clare, who has Alzheimer's disease.

Animal-Assisted Therapy: An Exploration of Its History, Healing Benefits, and How Skilled Nursing Facilities Can Set Up Programs

Animals have long been part of the human experience, serving multiple purposes throughout history, from food to companionship. More recently, the therapeutic potential of animals in numerous clinical areas has been increasingly recognized, leading to more healthcare facilities providing animal-assisted therapy (AAT) to their patients. In this article, the author provides an overview of the history of AAT, outlines several benefits that are particularly relevant to geriatric patients, and describes how skilled nursing facilities can set up AAT programs, reviewing how to ensure proper animal selection and prevent zoonotic infections.

Improved Renal and Cognitive Function in a Hospice Patient After Polypharmacy Reduction

This case highlights the positive impact that careful medication reviews and adjustments can have in elderly patients with renal impairment, including trials of stopping potentially unnecessary and inappropriate medications.

Preventing Aspiration Pneumonia by Addressing Three Key Risk Factors: Dysphagia, Poor Oral Hygiene, and Medication Use

Although various treatment guidelines for adults with lower respiratory tract infections exist, a greater emphasis on prevention of aspiration should be considered for older adults, as the mortality associated with this disease process can be staggering in this vulnerable population.

Precious Time

This poem offers a physician's perspective on the passing of time and end-of-life care.

When Evidence Clashes With Emotion: Feeding Tubes in Advanced Dementia

This Q&A with Ramona Rhodes, MD, reviews the balance between medical evidence and emotional investment in the decision to place a feeding tube in patients with advanced dementia.

Improving Outcomes Through a Coordinated Diabetes Disease Management Model

The authors found that their QI project, which involved a specialized NP and evidence-based guidelines, led to significant improvements in patient outcomes, including reductions in hypoglycemia incidence and sliding scale insulin orders, while increasing resident-centered care and improving chronic kidney disease screenings.

Improving the Management of Urinary Tract Infections in Nursing Homes: It’s Time to Stop the Tail From Wagging the Dog

This article addresses some of the reasons why antibiotic therapy is often overprescribed and proposes recommendations for a new stepwise approach to diagnosing UTIs in residents of long-term care facilities, including determining when antibiotic therapy is the appropriate course of action.

Fall Risk Assessment Guidelines

In approximately 33% of cases, a single potential cause can be identified, whereas in approximately 66% of cases, more than one risk factor is involved. To assess the multifactorial cause of falls, the authors developed a falls risk assessment instrument that can be downloaded as a PDF and distributed.

Checklist of Nonverbal Indicators of Chronic Pain in Elderly Residents

This is a downloadable checklist that healthcare providers can use to identify nonverbal cues of chronic pain in elderly residents