Vaccinations, Visitation, and Vigilance During the Delta Surge

The Delta variant is now the most common variant in the US, making up over 85% of cases, and is two to three times as contagious as prior variants. This is causing a surge in cases in communities across the US, which puts long term care facilities at risk of outbreaks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges healthcare workers to stay vigilant to prevent the spread of the virus and protect staff and residents in long term care facilities.
The CDC recommends staff and visitors take the following steps:
  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible
  • Wear a mask even if you are vaccinated
  • Stay home if you feel ill
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms

To maintain compliance with CMS’ QSO memo on visitation 20-39-NH Revised, while ensuring the safety of residents and staff, AHCA/NCAL recommends that nursing homes enact policies that “strongly encourage” (but not require) all visitors to:

  • Be vaccinated;
  • Always wear a mask during the visit; and
  • Have a negative COVID-19 test if the community spread of COVID-19 is moderate to high OR obtain a negative Point of Care test the day of or day before visitation.
Providers may also consider asking residents if they want visitors given the surge in the Delta variant and if they want any unvaccinated visitors or visitors that have not been tested. Residents can put such a requirement in place under their resident rights.
Providers should also continue to strongly encourage vaccinations among staff, using the resources provided through the #GetVaccinated campaign. AHCA/NCAL also hosted a webinar on boosting staff vaccination rates, which is now available on demand.
The CDC also provides the following web resources to help inform and educate about COVID-19, the Delta variant, and vaccination:

Upcoming AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo Offers Education on Key Topics That Matter Most to You

Education takes center stage at the 72nd AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo with over 85 education sessions to choose from in 16 tracks of learning. You can earn up to 15.5 CEs. Hot topics include trauma-informed care, rebuilding census, infection control and prevention, workforce, reimbursement, and much more. ​​​​Register by September 24 and save.

Sharpen Your Geriatric RN Skills with AHCA/NCAL’s Gero Nurse Prep!

Specifically designed for registered nurses working in long term care, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living’s Gero Nurse Prep course provides comprehensive online training that leads to board certification in gerontological nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for RNs.
Research released by AHCA/NCAL in 2019 found compelling reasons to consider the AHCA/NCAL’s Gero Nurse Prep course and ANCC Board certification for RNs. Nursing facilities with at least one ANCC Board certified RN experienced:
  • Two fewer deficiencies on average (5.71 citations versus the 7.55 national average in last cycle)
  • Fewer Immediate Jeopardy (IJ) citations (1.60 versus the 2.27 national average)
  • More stars — nearly twice as likely to be a CMS 5-Star facility (50% versus the 28% national average)
  • Significantly lower re-hospitalization rates over the previous six years
  • Significantly lower rates of off-label use of antipsychotics over the previous five years
  • ​​Significantly higher average SNF Value Based Purchasing scores (44.17 versus 34.42 for the nation). Higher SNF VBP Score = Higher Medicare Part A reimbursement rates.
Gero Nurse Prep makes a big difference even for those RNs who are not interested in pursuing ANCC Board certification. Nurses who complete Gero Nurse Prep show an average 24 percent increase between their pre- and post-course test scores. Quite simply, Gero Nurse Prep delivers smarter RNs who are better prepared to deliver quality geriatric nursing care in skilled nursing and assisted living settings. Both two-year RNs and BSNs can take the Gero Nurse Prep course and sit for the ANCC exam.
RNs have one year to complete Gero Nurse Prep and earn 30 quality nursing contact hours – enough to meet the criteria for taking the ANCC certification exam. Gero Nurse Prep grads who choose to sit for the ANCC gerontological nursing certification exam ($395 separate fee paid to ANCC) have a pass rate of 96% on their first try. RNs who pass the ANCC exam can then use the GERO-BC™ credential after their RN credential.
Watch this video or visit the website at geronurseprep.com to learn more about this online program designed to help RNs increase their geriatric nursing skills and to pass the ANCC exam. Remember to use the AHCAPAYLESS promo code when you register to save $100 off the regular $790 Gero Nurse Prep registration fee.

Convention & Expo Brings You Key Education to Help You Tackle Your Toughest Challenges!

The 72nd AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, taking place from October 10-13 at the National Harbor outside Washington, DC, offers more than 5 education sessions in 16 tracks of learning.
 
​Earn up to 15.5 CEs. 
Key topics include:
  • ​Rebuilding the Census
  • Workforce and Leadership
  • Infection Control and Prevention
  • Survey and Regulatory Compliance
  • Reimbursement
  • Quality Improvement
  • Technology and Innovation
Additional education tracks include Clinical Care Practice, Person-Centered Care, Post-Acute Care, Behavioral Health, Rehabilitation Therapy, Assisted Living, and much more.
Spend time networking with colleagues, share ideas and experiences, and gain fresh perspectives and strategies. The Convention & Expo is a unique four-day gathering that you don’t want to miss.
Register today and save $100.
Early Bird Deadline: July 26

Request Smart Devices for Your LTC Facility

​​​LTC facilities may request two free smart devices from COVID Tech Connect, while supplies last. Founded with a mission to connect critically ill COVID-19 patients with their loved ones, COVID Tech Connect donates smart devices to hospitals and care facilities across the country. Priority will be given to those in greatest need.
Providers can also request access to use their free app, TeleHome​ a video conferencing solution for calls on any device, anywhere.

National Assisted Living Week Theme Revealed for September Celebration

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) said “Compassion, Community, Caring” is this year’s theme for National Assisted Living Week®. The annual, national observance—officially sponsored by First Quality in 2021—provides a unique opportunity for residents, their loved ones, staff, volunteers, and local communities to celebrate the individuals who live and work in assisted living and learn more about this sector of long term care.

“This year’s National Assisted Living Week is special because of everything we have faced over the past year,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “’Compassion, Community, Caring’ reflects the hard work and dedication of all the essential caregivers in assisted living communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also represents the importance of family and remaining connected, even when we could not physically be together.”

Established by NCAL in 1995, National Assisted Living Week (NALW) will be held Sept. 12-18. “Compassion, Community, Caring” encourages assisted living communities around the country to host a variety of events that honor the individuals who reside, work, and volunteer in these communities while adhering to infection control requirements and precautions in place for COVID-19.

“First Quality is honored to be the official sponsor of National Assisted Living Week in 2021,” said Shelley Bache, First Quality Healthcare Leader. “After one of the most challenging years ever, it is imperative to remember and celebrate those in assisted living communities who did so much in the midst of so many unknowns. This week is a time to come together in a safe way and recognize the ‘Compassion, Community, Caring’ that could not be stopped by a pandemic.”

In the coming months, NCAL said it will issue a planning guide and products centered on ways to celebrate the week’s theme. Participants are asked to share their celebrations throughout the week on social media with the hashtag #NALW.

Visit www.ahcancal.org/NALW for updated information and resources.​

Take Advantage of the May Sale on AHCA/NCAL’s Premier Gerontological Nurse Training!

Save $200 off the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living’s Gero Nurse Prep course through May 31 with promo code RNLOVE (all caps). Specifically designed for registered nurses working in long term care, this curriculum provides comprehensive online training that leads to board certification in gerontological nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for RNs.
Research released by AHCA/NCAL in 2019 found compelling reasons to consider the AHCA/NCAL’s Gero Nurse Prep course and ANCC Board certification for RNs. Nursing facilities with at least one ANCC Board certified RN experienced:
  • ​Significantly higher average SNF Value Based Purchasing scores (44.17 versus 34.42 for the nation). Higher SNF VBP Score = Higher Medicare Part A reimbursement rates.
  • ​Two fewer deficiencies on average (5.71 citations versus the 7.55 national average in last cycle)
  • Fewer Immediate Jeopardy (IJ) citations (1.60 versus the 2.27 national average)
  • More stars — nearly twice as likely to be a CMS 5-Star facility (50% versus the 28% national average)
  • Significantly lower re-hospitalization rates over the previous six years
  • ​Significantly lower rates of off-label use of antipsychotics over the previous five years
Gero Nurse Prep makes a big difference even for those RNs who are not interested in pursuing ANCC Board certification. Nurses who complete Gero Nurse Prep show an average 24 percent increase between their pre- and post-course test scores. Quite simply, Gero Nurse Prep delivers smarter RNs who are better prepared to deliver quality geriatric nursing care in skilled nursing and assisted living settings. Both two-year RNs and BSNs can take the Gero Nurse Prep course and sit for the ANCC exam.
RNs have one year to complete Gero Nurse Prep and earn 30 quality nursing contact hours – enough to meet the criteria for taking the ANCC certification exam. Gero Nurse Prep grads who choose to sit for the ANCC gerontological nursing certification exam ($395 separate fee paid to ANCC) have a pass rate of 96% on their first try. RNs who pass the ANCC exam can then use the GERO-BC™ credential after their RN credential.
Watch this video or visit the website at geronurseprep.com​ to learn more about this online program designed to help RNs increase their geriatric nursing skills and to pass the ANCC exam. Don’t forget to use the RNLOVE promo code when you register by May 31 to save $200 off the regular $790 Gero Nurse Prep registration fee.