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What Most Long Term Care Professionals Don?t Know

Medicare recognizes this need and, therefore reimburses your residents to receive advanced behavioral health services? making them free to your facility!

Psychologists provide a wide variety of valuable and tested clinical services that can provide a big shot in the arm to your nursing home care. For example:

1. Psychotherapy is a treatment approach, which in many cases is equally, if not more, effective than drug therapies in nursing home care. Cognitive and interpersonal psychotherapies, for example, are effective treatments for depression.

2. Psychological alternatives to drug therapies are particularly valuable to elderly populations receiving nursing home care who are suffering from overmedication and side effects of various drugs and their interactions. These alternatives can reduce the medication use in your long term care facility thus reducing any complaints of over-medication of residents.

3. Psychologists can significantly bolster the impact of the nursing home care and treatment plan of patients suffering from chronic illnesses through a variety of advanced interventions providing a powerful treatment synergy that is invaluable.

4. People can be helped to control high blood pressure and manage chronic pain or headaches with fewer medications, when psychotherapy, behavioral techniques, and biofeedback are added to nursing home care.

5. Breast cancer patients who participate in group psychotherapy survive longer and manage their symptoms better than those who do not.

6. Pre-surgical psychological counseling leads to fewer complications and a reduction in medication utilization.

7. Psychotherapy added to nursing home care enables some diabetics who are at risk for erratic treatment compliance to maintain their discipline of diet and insulin treatments.

8. Psychological interventions help cancer patients to manage the unpleasant side effects of their chemotherapy so that their lives are disrupted less seriously and their daily effectiveness is maintained.

9. Individual and family psychological interventions added to your nursing home care are effective for enhancing resident quality of life. It does this by enabling the resident to effectively manage the depression, anxiety, and other adjustment issues resulting from the onset of chronic and disabling illness.

10. Psychotherapy and/or other behavioral interventions enrich your nursing home care by helping your residents to change lifestyle habits in order to reduce risks for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Become recognized as a forward-looking leader in long term care by having your own specialized psychological treatment program. It is well documented that psychologists assist residents in developing coping strategies and healthy behaviors, which can reduce the factors associated with the development of illness.

11. The psychologist has a unique expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions addressed in nursing home care such as stress disorders, neurological impairments, brain disease and psychosomatic illness. Psychologists have been in the forefront of high quality research involving the mutual influences which mind, body, emotion and disease have on each other.

12. Next-generation physicians consult psychologists to obtain an expert assessment regarding any psychological disorders present, advice on the implementation of behavioral programs, the pinpointing of specific behavioral symptoms and the targeting of resulting treatment goals. One reason is that 81% of adults say that they would feel more comfortable seeing a physician who consults with a psychologist.

13. Diagnostic tests performed by psychologists are state-of-the-art tools. Increasingly, physicians are turning to them to pinpoint any emotional or behavioral factors that may be affecting or interfering with the treatment process in nursing home care.

14. These next-generation diagnostic services give added power to your nursing home care because they can be used to assess among other things, prognosis and the existence of functional impairments, degree of intellectual, cognitive and/or psychological impairment and the extent of any dementia or memory impairments.

They also specify treatment and documentation guidelines which enable staff to reduce risk by use of more concrete factors to list in charting and by enhancing the odds for resident recovery and/or the slowing of the process of deterioration.

15. Sophisticated physicians are increasingly applying these results to develop faster-acting and longer-lasting rehabilitative services and treatment programs that stand head-over-heels above your nursing home peers in long term care.

16. Psychologists emphasize the least restrictive, safest, drug-free, most cost-efficient treatment alternatives available leading to them being increasingly recruited to provide services to long term care residents and being a factor in the numerous compliments administrators start getting from their bosses.

17. Dynamic Team-building. They will empower your nursing home care many times over because they are experts in facilitating cohesive team-work to generate results. They excel at working with teams of other health care professionals in nursing homes and other comprehensive rehabilitation facilities.

Dr. Michael Shery is the founder of Long Term Care Specialists in Psychology, a firm specializing in consulting to the long term care industry regarding mental health programming. Its website, http://www.NursingHomes.MD, provides state-of-the-art mental health treatment, facility staffing and career information to long term care professionals. Receive a copy of "How Strength-Embedded Counseling Reduces Depression in Long Term.

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