Of the many challenges posed by COVID-19, ensuring that residents are still getting the rehabilitation services they need has been one of the most critical. Residents’ confinement to their rooms limits modes of delivery such as group therapy, says cover story author Contributing Editor Joanne Kaldy. Communication between therapists, caregivers, and families has been key to identify which residents need what types of therapy and ways to keep up their morale and motivation to participate.

While CMS recently lifted the ban on visitors and nonessential personnel to nursing facilities, they must follow the agency’s guidance. In Management, Kris Mastrangelo of Harmony Healthcare explains the CMS nine core COVID infection prevention principles, including how to screen visitors and what is required of them when they enter, proper PPE use, and resident and staff testing.

One result of the prolonged pandemic has been an increase in psychiatric and behavioral disorders among nursing center residents, says Caregiving author Richard Juman, PsyD. Facilities are required to screen all residents for depression, and when it is identified they should be sure to follow up with a mental health professional for treatment.

In a special feature, Senior Writer and Editor Patrick Connole interviews representatives from the four facilities that achieved a Gold AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award for 2020. In spite of the pandemic, Jane Martin, RN, Treutlen Health and Rehabilitation, says staff and residents were thrilled when they learned they had earned the gold. “We were in a huge open area when we told them, and it was a lot of yelling through masks,” she says.

In a move to enhance our ability to reach readers in a more timely manner and give you an avenue to interact with us online on our newly redesigned website, providermagazine.com, Provider is offering its first digital special edition in January. To read about it, go to News Currents, page 16.