Researchers at Penn Memory Center studying the clinical, emotional, and behavioral effects of COVID-19 in long term care found that—unsurprisingly—it placed enormous stress on caregivers, reports Managing Editor Amy Mendoza. Changes made to group-setting activities led to increased resident isolation, but lockdown practices revealed that some visitors were not just visiting but were an essential part of the care team, and residents suffered greatly in their absence.

Visitation is also a theme for the next feature on design spaces for memory care. The big challenge is getting people safely in and out of the building, Mendoza says. This will entail establishing a safe transition space for families, friends, and support personnel when they enter and a secure space to meet with residents.

In a third feature, two provider executives tell Senior Writer and Editor Patrick Connole what key elements need to be considered when building a standalone memory care unit. For starters, the ratio of staff to resident is much higher than in assisted living, and there are added costs such as exit alarms, special locks, cameras, and campus sensors. Still, the providers express gratification in knowing that families really appreciate the service they are providing to their loved ones.

An influx of patients from psychiatric settings in many states is challenging post-acute providers to set up a program that will meet patient needs. In Focus on Caregiving, Ron Denti, LNHA, describes the Behavior Enhancement Program he created, including developing the interdisciplinary committee, admission criteria, staff and training, and appropriate recreation program options.​