Challenges and Strategies in Psychiatric Patient Treatment at Skilled Nursing Facilities

Challenges and Strategies in Psychiatric Patient Treatment at Skilled Nursing Facilities

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

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