What is AANAC and How Does It Benefit the Long Term Care Industry?
The Benefits of AANAC Certification
A non-profit organization committed to providing support for nurses and professionals working in Long Term Care, the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC) strives to help the members provide high-quality care in nursing homes across America. Founded in 1999, the organization has earned a reputation as the leading network and resource for individuals in this field who are taking part in the RAI/RAC/MDS process. The organization continues to grow and now boasts more than 15,000 members and is dedicated to ensuring the success of the interdisciplinary team. They deliver information that is timely, accurate and relevant. Furthermore, they host educational opportunities, advocate for members and the profession, and provide a community of support for the peers.
Long Term Care is a demanding field, and the AANAC (aanac.org) strives to provide support to those who take on this challenge. Individuals who become a member can network with others for support, guidance, career advancement, and more. The organization helps members take their learning and understanding of the field to a new level with the help of basic and advanced tools. People who choose a career of this type do so as they wish to improve the lives of others, and they find AANAC to be of great assistance in achieving this goal.
Members receive regular updates that are both expert-reviewed and condensed to guarantee the latest information is always being employed when caring for patients. Furthermore, any time the RAI User’s Manual is updated, members receive these changes upon the manual’s release. Numerous members choose to take part in the education and certification opportunities presented through the organization to ensure their skills remain sharp and their knowledge base expands. The support obtained via the community should never be discounted either, as this support is of great help in strengthening the network and advancing in one’s career.
Every member receives the option of taking part in free webinars held throughout the year. An average of six webinars are offered each year on topics that are making the news. Certification and education opportunities are offered at a discount, up to 50 percent off, and members likewise receive a discounted price for the annual conference.
CMS regulations and requirements often tend to be complex (MDS 3.0 is the current assessment criteria released by CMS), leaving workers wondering if they are complying. The AANAC synthesizes and breaks down updates to these requirements and regulations to eliminate any confusion. Furthermore, the organization keeps members updated on need-to-know information regarding the Long Term Care landscape and any changes that have recently taken place or are upcoming.
The AANAC offers the following certifications:
- RAC-CT Certification: Resident Assessment Coordinator – Certified
- RAC-CT Recertification: (For existing Resident Assessment Coordinators who need to renew or maintain their existing RAC certification)
- QCP: QAPI Certified Professional Program – Developed by AADNS (sister organization to AANAC) and is focused on Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI.) The QCP will be well equipped to help Long Term Care facilities, Nursing Homes, and Skilled Nursing Facilities implement their mandated QAPI programs.
Regular communication is essential to staying informed, thus the AANAC provides e-mails, discussion feeds, articles, and e-newsletters to help members obtain the information they desire. The online forum is likewise of great help with facilitating communication among members and the organization, and it remains open 24 hours a day every day of the year. Furthermore, when a person wishes to advance in their career or a facility needs new talent, the AANAC career center is of great aid in connecting employers with employees.
AANAC members find the benefits extend further. A member may grow his or her career by mentoring others in the organization, taking on speaking engagements, or offering his or her writing services and blog submissions. As the field is continually changing and new challenges arise as a result, the network of individuals in similar situations and the established support system are of great benefit. Furthermore, members contribute to the education of another person interested in pursuing work in the Long Term Care industry through the LTC Nursing Education Foundation and may volunteer or advocate to further advance the field.
Members likewise find they are eligible for a variety of discounts from select organizations. The products and services are of the highest quality and ensure members have access to items they need outside of their career. Furthermore, there are discounts offered on items that help the member advance his or her career and training also.
Furthering Your Career with the Help of AANAC
Members come from many walks of life. Nurse assessment coordinators (RNACs) benefit from membership in the organization and nurses from many fields join, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and licensed vocational nurses. A director or assistant director of nursing finds numerous benefits when they choose to become a member of AANAC and billing professionals learn a great deal when they join. Therapists, including speech, occupational, and physical therapists take part in AANAC, as do many other professionals outside of nursing who frequently work with individuals in nursing homes. This includes health information professionals, dieticians, social workers, and professionals who plan activities for the residents.
Assessments for Long Term Care residents and planning for the care of these individuals change over time as a result of the ever-widening body of knowledge regarding this field. The AANAC ensures members stay up to date through a variety of means. This includes through website content, the member community offered on the internet, practical tools, conferences, partnerships and gold-standard programs that allow members to further their education and become certified.
Topics that are addressed through these methods include regulatory requirements and legislative policy, an area that is constantly changing. To ensure proper payments, medical professionals must follow all Medicare reimbursement processes completely, and the AANAC aids with this through the various programs. Quality measures and indicators are shared along with survey processes and management. Members find they learn a great deal every time they visit the site, thanks to the wealth of information found here.
The AANAC Annual Conference
Every year, the AANAC holds an annual conference for members and non-members. Those taking part may participate in continuing nursing education hours and individuals who opt to take part in the pre-conference workshops may obtain more continuing nursing education hours. The same is true of the RAC-CT recertification workshop, and individuals must be present for at least 80 percent of the event to obtain receipt of the credit.
The National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Board has partnered with the AANAC to allow nursing home administrators to obtain continuing education credits through the conference. The number of credits one may earn through any of these venues varies from year to year. When registering, individuals need to learn how much credit they can obtain by taking part in each portion of the program.
Registering for the conference allows individuals to take part in many events. The education sessions are included in the cost, and each participant receives conference materials, entrance to the Exhibit Hall, and access to the AANAConnect Annual Conference Community via the internet. In addition, the opening reception and award celebration, breakfast and lunch, and refreshment breaks are included in the cost.
Preconference workshops require an additional registration fee. The fee includes the cost of workshop materials and access to the final exams needed for certification. Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments are likewise included in the cost. For those choosing to take part in the RAC-CT recertification workshop, the same amenities are included, with the exception being participants receive education materials as opposed to workshop materials.
At the conference, participants learn from the CMS about the most current news regarding MDS from AANAC master teachers and their peers. Along with the education sessions, individuals attending the conference take part in panel discussions led by nurse-experts and keynote presentations that leave one thinking about the future and what it holds. Those who attend find they return home with an action plan in place and a much better understanding of what is next and how nurse assessment coordinators are involved in the shift to resident-centered care, among other things.
One major benefit of attending the conference is the ability of individuals to network with others. This may be done while attending the opening reception, as part of the awards celebration festivities, or when exploring the great city where the conference is being held.
360 Healthcare Staffing is an annual attendee and sponsor at the Annual Conference, usually held in the Spring. In 2019, the AANAC Annual Conference will be held April 3-5, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. Please come see us!
How AANAC Helps the Long Term Care Industry
The field of Long Term Care is rapidly advancing, and information needs to be shared quickly to ensure all patients receive the highest level of care. The AANAC helps to achieve this goal by synthesizing and breaking down updates. Furthermore, the discussion opportunities that are offered through the online forum and the annual conference allow new ideas to be shared that may be of great benefit to all who work in this field. Disparate groups of individuals are brought together from all parts of the country to learn what is working for others and where improvements need to be made. This information may then be brought to the attention of those capable of making the needed changes through the advocacy and volunteer opportunities. All benefit the industry as these interactions ensure the field continues to move forward in a positive way.
Furthermore, the AANAC provides members access to numerous resources beneficial to the industry. This includes the Resource Library, Tools, Tips, the RAI Manual, the Care Connection blog, and more. Student resources are offered to help with studying. When members visit the website, they find the information they need in a timely manner and can continue working to provide the best care to every resident of the nursing home.
How AANAC Helps Members
Members benefit from the knowledge and expertise available through AANAC. The conferences and workshops allow all to stay informed and earn continuing education credits for doing so. The staff members are competent and professional and show their appreciation for all in the healthcare profession. With the aid of the organization, members are always informed as to regulatory changes without delay. Furthermore, members find they have a voice in the industry and can make their team stronger with the help of AANAC. The major benefit of becoming a member, however, is those who do so find they provide better care and a higher quality of life for their Long Term Care patients.
Mentors are available to help mentees achieve their professional development goals and bolster their careers. The relationship between the two parties becomes a lasting connection. Mentors find they can give back while making new friends and increasing their network. The mentor learns from the mentee and is recognized by others in the industry as a volunteer and leader. The mentee obtains help through the partnership and expands his or her career opportunities while doing so. As a result, both parties and the industry gain from the relationship.
How AANAC Helps the Profession
The industry benefits with the help of AANAC as educational and certification opportunities are furthered through the organization, providing a standard of excellence to the Industry for RNAC-CT Certified Nurses. In addition, employees and employers are brought together to network, which allows individuals to find the right job for their needs and employers to find the right talent for their organization. The industry, furthermore, is continually improving because of the awards and professional development grants provided by the organization. This ensures those individuals who have distinguished themselves in the Long Term Care field are recognized for their dedication and commitment to improving the industry and the lives of their residents. Individuals who receive an award or grant appreciate this recognition for their hard work and caring and are motivated to continue working in the same manner. Lastly, the awards and grants encourage others to strive for excellence in all that they do daily for the residents.
How AANAC Helps the Patients
Patients benefit from the higher level of care they receive because of this organization. The world of medicine is rapidly changing, and professionals who are aware of these changes can implement them more quickly. The residents and patients are the ones who truly see the rewards of the organization’s efforts.
Become a member today and advance the field of Long Term Care. Individuals who are in their senior years have lived a long and full life. Allow them to enjoy the remaining years with the best care available today and the highest quality of life. With the help of this organization, caregivers and nurses in the field can make certain this is the case. Take advantage of the many resources available through AANAC and watch your career advance.
For more information, talk to your 360 Healthcare Staffing representative. To review job opportunities for MDS Coordinators, RNACs and other Long Term Care positions, review our current open positions.