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It’s been a hard couple years for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). In times like these, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s joyful in the industry – and there’s a lot to celebrate! We wanted to take time to highlight the passionate people who work in skilled nursing facilities and the advancements taking place in senior care and beyond. Read on for our roundup of good skilled nursing facility news. 

Training for CNAs and HHAs Is Expanding

One of skilled nursing’s biggest strains involves the high turnover for roles like CNAs. But change is on its way. 

California’s Health and Human Services Department recently awarded LeadingAge California, a non-profit supporting older adults, a $25 million grant. The grant will expand training for new CNA and HHA workers. The training program will be free of charge for students, and will also place graduates in positions. It also contains retention rewards to decrease turnover. 

This program, and others like it, promise to bring unique talent to the healthcare industry, decreasing staffing shortages and improving quality of care. If you’re interested in creating your own in-house training program, learn more here. 

Pennsylvania SNFs are Getting a Boost From the State

After a tough couple years, Pennsylvania SNFs are receiving federal COVID-19 relief to the tune of $131 million. The new funding also includes a 17.5% increase in Medicaid reimbursement for nursing home services. This news comes as much needed relief for a strained system, and could lead to improved staffing and quality of care. 

New Treatments for Memory Care Patients

Our roundup of skilled nursing facility news wouldn’t be complete without a nod to memory care. Almost half (48%) of nursing home residents live with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. 

Advancements in memory care directly impact SNF residents — and there’s a lot of exciting research in the works. Here’s some news we’re excited about: 

  • Recent research published in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy reveals that two FDA-approved drugs, imipramine and olanzapine, could have benefits for people with Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Scientists around the world are pursuing new tactics to treat Alzheimer’s and dementia. These include targeting plaques in the brain, reducing inflammation, and understanding the connection between cardiovascular and neurological health. 
  • Susan J. Loeb, a Pennsylvania nursing professor, was recently awarded a grant to create a training program for prison staff working with incarcerated individuals in need of memory care. An aging overall population also means an aging incarcerated population, and hopefully this exciting project will increase the accessibility of memory care for all. 

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Creative New Ideas for Resident Engagement

Skilled nursing facilities around the country are coming up with new and unique ways to engage residents — often connecting with local volunteers. In Rumford, Maine, a local resident hosted a fishing derby for nursing home residents –- with residents catching over 30 fish! Events like these can add excitement and connectivity for both nursing home residents and those who live in the surrounding towns.

Volunteers Continue to Provide Care and Support 

SNF volunteers have been crucial for forging bonds and creating moments of joy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. At one Texas skilled nursing facility, a local flower business has donated over 500 bouquets to residents as part of their Make Someone Smile Week, part of a yearly tradition. This year, due to slightly relaxed restrictions, volunteers were able to deliver the flowers directly to residents’ rooms. 

Organizations are Challenging Ageism –- and This Could Have Real Health Benefits

Ageism can have a tangible effect on SNF residents. According to the World Health Organization, “every second person in the world is believed to hold ageist attitudes, leading to poorer physical and mental health and reduced quality of life for older persons.” 

Conversely, as people challenge notions of what it means to age, SNF residents may see health benefits. In 2019, the National Institute on Aging mandated that all age ranges should be included in research involving human subjects (with exceptions for scientific or ethical reasons). With these changes, older adults can reap more of the benefits from cutting edge research. 

Ageism is being challenged in the beauty industry too, with Allure no longer using the term anti-aging. Michelle Lee, the editor-in-chief at the time of this change, stated that Allure is trying to move away from the idea that aging is a “condition we need to battle.” Large cultural changes take time, but it’s heartening to see so many dedicated to dismantling the stigma. 

Finally, These Therapy Dogs Are on the Job

Dogs make everything better. This class of Mississippi therapy dogs are on a mission to do just that. After a rigorous 21-step training program, these recent graduates are on their way to provide comfort to hospital and SNF residents. 

Photo from WLOX (2022)

Better Hiring With Apploi

We hope you enjoyed these positive skilled nursing facility news items. There’s a lot to get excited about. 

Apploi’s easy-to-use platform can help you make your own good news and improve your staffing with a streamlined hiring, onboarding, and management process. Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution.

Pritma Chattha, DNP MHA RN

Pritma is a Yale-educated nurse executive with 18 years of experience advocating for patients at the bedside and in the boardroom. She currently serves as the Head of Healthcare Innovation at Apploi—healthcare's leading recruitment and credentialing platform. Over the last decade, Pritma has honed her expertise as a health informaticist, building and improving electronic health records and credentialing platforms. She is the immediate former Executive Director of Electronic Quality and Safety for Alberta Health Services, the largest health system in Canada. Pritma enjoys rethinking healthcare processes to provide safer, better, and more accessible healthcare.