Stepping Out of the Crosshairs

Crosshairs (noun); a pair of thin wires in the shape of a cross that you see when you look through a gunsight (Oxford Learners Dictionary, 2021). 

Nursing homes have been caught in the crosshairs of the COVID 19 pandemic, claiming the lives of more than 170,000 residents and staff in the US (Gleckman, 2021; Yourish et al, 2020). Nursing homes lacked the resources to contain the outbreak. Age-old challenges in LTC were magnified as the pressure mounted and the months wore on. What problems, you ask? Housing vulnerable people in communal settings, managing residents and staff on shoestring budgets, understaffing, underpaid and undertrained workforce, social isolation, and daily life in a marginalized medical model that neither maintains nor nurtures the soul. Experts assert that COVID-19 has exposed the defects in our tenuous configuration of providing LTC (Werner et al, 2020). 

Throwing money and regulations at the problem, while important aspects of recovery, are not the answer to the entirety of our LTC challenges. Some opine that large occupancy nursing homes should give way to community-based group models where small numbers of residents are cared for in family-style houses. We must ensure that residents are less likely to succumb to large outbreaks of disease. Resources must become better allocated and tracked, and care more individualized. Appropriate application of telemedicine and other innovations will enable change to the current care nursing settings Some look to the Dutch model of the Dementia Village, and structures that combine childcare and early education with elder care. The solutions are many and we must commit to promoting reforms in LTC finance, regulation, care delivery models, and all manner of innovations to serve and support residents and those who provide care. 

So, what does this have to do with the CALTCM Education Committee? Practically everything, if you squint one eye just a bit, and imagine what true grassroots and other reforms can accomplish. Most all change starts with learning understanding. The Education Committee is in an excellent position to support CALTCM’s efforts to improve the lives of the LTC community by bringing to bear high quality teaching and learning to fill our toolboxes for the work that is before each of us. What will you do next to ensure that we all emerge from the pandemic experience wiser, stronger, and better equipped? There is much to do, and no idea or area of interest is unworthy of consideration. What is your passion?  

  • Integrated health and social care models of delivery? 
  • The lived experience of LTC?
  • Elder abuse prevention?
  • Planned communities and collaborative care?
  • Disability and disease prevention? 
  • Continuity of care? 
  • Geriatrics and/or Gerontology? 
  • Pastoral care and behavioral medicine? 
  • Palliative and End-of-Life care? 
  • Regulation, finance, policy, advocacy, training, structure, process, outcomes, and so much more! 

In pondering the work that is before us all, I am reminded of three favorite quotes:

“God provides the wind, but man must raise the sails.”
(Saint Augustine, 354-430).
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
(Thomas A. Edison, 1847-1931).

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
(Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1910-1997)

The Education Committee looks forward to supporting the CALTCM and LTC communities as we explore and learn about all aspects of this important work. I am honored to serve as the Committee Chair this year and welcome your thoughts and ideas for all things education related. Please reach out if you are interested in serving on the Committee.   

While we gather ourselves to improve the entire world (

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