We found Dr. Robert Figlerski’s list of challenges and strategies in treating psychiatric patients in a long-term care setting, originally published in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, enlightening.



  • Demographic shifts—when staff training doesn’t keep up with patient needs.
  • Confusion over how to properly use psychotropic medications (such as antipsychotics.)
  • Confusion and misinformation about non-drug intervention and behavioral healthcare.
  • Poorly-integrated behavioral healthcare services (such as psychology and psychiatry.)
  • Lack of programs to reduce the decline of social and self-care skills for residents.
  • Frequent psychiatric hospitalizations.
  • Lack of communication between hospitals and SNFs.



  • Don’t let the number of patients grow faster than the facility staff’s ability to care for them properly.
  • Build relationships with behavioral healthcare providers.
  • Develop ongoing training on working with psychiatric patients for staff.
  • Understand the CMS guidelines on psychotropic medication use and reduction.
  • Develop focused therapeutic recreation activities for residents with chronic mental illness.
  • Build strong relationships with hospitals to reduce misunderstanding and unnecessary discharges and subsequent readmissions.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of depression early.
  • Expand and further integrate telemedicine into the nursing home setting to increase access to care.
  • Understand that all residents may experience psychological and adjustment challenges when entering a SNF, and focus on providing quality mental healthcare.


To read Dr. Figlerski’s full article, visit https://www.mcknights.com/guest-columns/seven-strategies-for-treating-psychiatric-patients-in-snfs/article/748486/.