Meet NAHCA – The Elevated Care Force

I am so excited and grateful to co-author this month’s article with Lori Porter, one of the founders of the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA). The mission of NAHCA is to elevate the professional standing and performance of caregivers through recognition, advocacy, education and empowerment while building a strong alliance with health care providers to maximize success and quality patient care. NAHCA offers needed support that is welcome more now than ever. 

In the many years and on the many levels I’ve been involved in long-term care, one of the most frequent topics of discussions is “staffing.” In fact, several presentations were focused on staffing issues at the ARI ALF/Nursing Home Seminar just last week. Most recently, I reported on the regulatory and operational reform hearings held before the Senate Finance Committee in March and July. Between Five-Star staffing measures, Payroll-Based Journal and the Final Rule related to staff education, the standing and performance of caregivers is receiving greater attention and change. 

For example, the Final Rule took steps to improve staffing by (1) requiring staff to have “appropriate competencies and skill sets” to care for the residents living in the facility; (2) required training around issues such as abuse prevention and dementia care; and (3) required an annual Facility Assessment which mandated nursing homes to assess necessary staffing needs for their facility by taking into consideration the number, acuity and diagnoses of its resident population.

Meet NAHCA – the voice of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), the “Care Force” and provider of educational resources for CNAs. CNAs provide over 90% of the direct patient care and make up the largest group of employees working in health care facilities today. 

Lori’s here to share with us how NAHCA can help support your Care Force community.

It has been a great honor to serve CNAs for the past 25 years;  working with them to build a strong professional community. NAHCA also works directly with senior housing providers on CNA professional development, career lattices and resources to support their efforts in building a strong stable CNA team.

Very few understand what motivates a CNA, what drives them to achieve excellence.  They do not have jobs, they have passion. When passion turns to burnout without any relief, we lose great people who must be transformed not terminated. The relationship between CNAs and residents/patients is one that can only be felt not understood. 

Senior housing does not have a recruitment problem but rather a retention problem.  Passion in action takes a great deal of support not present in most health care workspaces today. NAHCA not only speaks of it but has developed a host of proven solutions for both employers and their CNAs.

We look forward to collaborating with Adelman Law Firm in developing and delivering new and innovative education on managing expectations with families and residents, incident reporting and investigation, communication and documentation. 

Lori and I will be offering a webinar this Fall on CNA education, so please reach out to us if you’re interested in a complimentary registration. 

The following is a list of educational resources that NHACA has developed to meet the diverse needs of its members and to provide the best possible learning experience:

The NAHCA Virtual Campus of Care (NVCC):

NVCC is a distance-learning platform that allows members to drive their own learning experiences. It enables them to learn at their convenience, anywhere, anytime and on any device. NVCC content is organized into five major categories: Clinical, General, Required, Exclusive and Elective Education.

The purpose of Clinical Education is to build on the fundamentals that each CNA received from their initial certification or licensure. The content within the category of General Education is intended to help in the development of skills such as communication, team building and problem solving. Required Education is NAHCA’s effort to help our members better understand the Federal Regulations that impact their scope of practice, as well as the requirements for education that help them stay in good standing for their recertification. Exclusive Education houses some of our most prestigious course content. Members who have demonstrated genuine commitment to their growth are assigned these courses. The Elective Education category is available for members who wish to take an active role in course selection. NAHCA’s leadership carefully considered NAHCA’s members as they developed each course and current feedback says NAHCA has succeeded in creating relevant and meaningful education.

Professional Development Coaching:

This is a unique feature of membership. Some members of the NAHCA team serve as Professional Development Coaches (PDCs). They are selected based upon their depth of experience within the long-term care system and service as CNAs. As PDCs, they work to guide our members toward desired outcomes like helping to decrease turnover. They also coach individual members on matters of personal and professional growth.

The Geriatric Care Specialist (GCS) Course:

This ten module course of study is dynamic and enhances the clinical knowledge and competency of those who complete it. The GCS course starts with an in-depth look at anatomy and physiology and concludes with the survey and regulatory process. The comprehensive exam at the end of the course reinforces how well the member understood the content and that they attained a level of mastery.

The Certified Preceptor Course:

One of the most challenging issues in long term care is the high rate of turnover. The majority of turnover occurs in the first 90 days of employment. CNAs have a great potential to help decrease turnover by serving as a teacher, mentor and coach for the newest members of our profession. This eight module course is designed to equip our members with the tools necessary to serve as a bridge to help get the new staff through that critical phase of initial employment.

NAHCA’s Annual Conference:

Each year, the Association hosts the nation’s premier gathering of CNAs, STLNAs, PCAs and other caregivers with similar scopes of practice. The Annual Conference provides 12 to 16 hours of education for all attendees, fantastic networking opportunities that allow folks to share best practices and culminates with the prestigious Key to Quality Awards Banquet where members are recognized for the noble and humanitarian service they render to those they care for on a daily basis.

The CNA Code of Ethics and Federal Regulations Handbook:

This handbook was created to educate our members related to NAHCA’s strongly held belief in a code of ethics that drives conduct and performance. A section on regulations was added because NAHCA members were being held responsible for complying with regulations that they had not necessarily been educated on during their certification course. This section is accompanied by examples of how the F-Tag might be observed.

The Edge E-Newsletter:

News you can use that comes right into your email inbox. This monthly periodical covers both the immediate and emerging issue within the profession. NAHCA’s Steering Commission, staff and guest contributors strive to provide the news you need to be your very best. The Edge also highlights caregivers who are doing exceptional work.

“Ask Lori Anything”:

Lori presents 10- to 20-minute video segments based upon questions she receives from members. These videos are intended to educate and entertain the viewer. Lori is one of the most sought-after speakers in long term care. Watch one segment and see why. You are definitely going to want to watch each new segment. “Ask Lori Anything” is released every month.

Please explore how the NAHCA can partner with your organization and provide education and training to your CNA staff for best practice and quality of care learning and professional development. 

Also, please save the dates of April 21-22, 2020 for the 8th Annual National Long-Term Care Defense Summit! 2019 was amazing. Look forward to education, networking and fun in New York City in 2020! You’ll love the Parker Hotel and the penthouse Estrela conference room with 360 degree views of the city and Central Park. Please plan to join us! For more information, please contact me at rebecca@adelmanfirm.com.

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Rebecca Adelman is an entrepreneur, influencer, thought leader and founder of Adelman Law Firm, a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE), established in 2001. For nearly 30 years, Rebecca has concentrated her practice in insurance defense and business litigation. The firm’s practice extends through the tri-states of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Rebecca’s insurance defense practice includes representation of insurance companies and long term care providers and their insurers, both regionally and nationally. She also provides consulting services and educational programming to health care professionals and business associates. She has active practices in the areas of general liability, professional liability, premises and employment law. She is a listed mediator serving all areas of business and health care litigation. Contact Rebecca at rebecca@adelmanfirm.com, and visit www.adelmanfirm.com and www.rebeccaadelman.com.

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Lori Porter started her career in long-term care more than 35 years ago. She began as a dietary aide, moved on to be a CNA for 7 years, a nursing home administrator for nearly seven years and operations director of 10 skilled facilities in the Midwest. In 1995, she followed a dream and created the National Association of Health Care Assistants to honor and recognize CNAs and other frontline care providers who serve our nations frail, elderly and disabled as well as elevate the profession of nursing assistant through professional development, advocacy and empowerment. 

She and her staff have grown NAHCA to a membership of more than 30,000 members nationwide and a partnership with more than 800 nursing facilities across the country.

Lori is a nationally sought-after speaker and author of her book, Everything I Learned in Life I Learned in Long Term Care. She can be contacted at lporter@nahcacna.org.