The NCCAP Page
The National Certification Council
for Activity Professionals
Our Mission:  The
National Certification Council
for Activity Professionals is a
credentialing body, which sets
standards and criteria to
ensure that those we serve
have optimal life experiences
Why Become
NCCAP Certified?

1. Federal Law, OBRA, states
that an activity department
must be directed by a
"qualified professional." One
of the ways to become
qualified is to become a
Certified Activity Professional.

2. NCCAP certification is
recognized by HCFA (Health
Care Financing
Administration) as an
organization that certifies
activity professionals who
work specifically with the

3. NCCAP certification
assures administrators and
surveyors that you have met
certain professional
standards to become certified.

4. Many administrators will
only hire activity professionals
who are already certified.

5. Some administrators offer
a higher salary to a certified

6. Become NCCAP certified
so others will know that you
are nationally qualified and
giving quality activity service to


May derive from a wide variety
of curricula: Social Work,
Recreation, Education, and
Business degrees. These are
a few of the educational
backgrounds that represent
our certified members.

Activity work experience with
elderly populations, where at
least 50% are 55+ years of
age. Some volunteer work
with elderly clients may be

Current education (within past
5 years): workshops,
seminars, college courses
that keep the activity
professional abreast of
present trends. NCCAP's
Body of Knowledge contains
27 areas of education with
many subheadings that are

May include: advising a group,
working one to one, teaching
a class, conducting
workshops, publishing
professional articles,
supervising students and/or
managing 5 or more activity
staff persons.

The cost of being certified
initially ranges from $45 to
$65 depending upon the level.
Renewal is required every two
years with 20-40 hours of
continuing education and a
fee of $40.

For further information
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

Tug of War with the Departments?
By Ginger Johnston, ADC
NCCAP Secretary

Do you ever feel as if you are in a war zone at your facility? Every department has a
mission, and they only have eight hours to meet their goals. Have we lost sight of the
reason that we get up and go to work every day? I remember when I decided that I
wanted to go into the Activity field. Young and full of ideas, hoping to change the
opinions of those in our community about Long Term Care facilities. "You have heard the
comments, "How can you work there, it is so sad and depressing?!" Well, not to me, my
residents are full of life and have so much to offer. Yes, things have changed since I
found my passion twenty years ago. I seem to have less time to spend with the
residents/clients and more time spent doing paperwork. Sound familiar?

So, what is it that an Activity Professional does for the resident's? BINGO, Birthday
Parties, and Bible Study? Maybe thirty years ago that would have been the answer, but
that's certainly not the case today. Today's Activity Professional has expanded the
choices available to the resident's. NCCAP encourages Activity Professionals to
continually seek current skills and tools to augment the best program possible for the
residents/client's that we serve in the various facilities, according to the areas of interest
that the resident's life style has indicated as their meaningful quality of life. We are
encouraged to continue to engage the residents in meaningful activity programs of their
choosing; remembering to look at the residents past but to also respect any new interest
they may like to try. As we all know, it is never too late to take up a new hobby. The days
seem to go by a little faster when we are busy. So, our goal is to enhance the lives of the
resident's that we serve at our facilities, through the programs that we schedule.

We are all aware of the wars that unfortunately are going on in the world and if you are
working in a Long Term Care facility you may feel that some days you yourself are at
"war" with other departments. The resident's have 24 hours in their day, just as we do.
How much of their time is spent with pursuing leisure activities or spent being involved in
a group setting for socialization with others? For most of our residents much of their time
is taken with their ADL care, treatments, meals, as well as physical, occupational, and/or
speech therapies.

We all know what our Nursing departments goals are, to ensure that the residents
receive medical treatment as ordered, get the residents up and dressed, and to make
sure that they are clean, dry and comfortable. Our Dietary department's goal is to
provide nutritional meals within their dietary restrictions, while providing meals that are
pleasurable to the palate, as well as attempts to make special foods for those that have
weight loss issues.

The department that seems to be in the biggest "war" with the Activity department is our
Therapy department. It seems as if the Activity department and the Therapy department
are in a "battle" over the resident's time. We all know that our Administrators are looking
to get reimbursement any way that they can. You guessed it, Activities is not a
reimbursable treatment in your facility (only through the daily PPD rates), and sometimes
it seems as if our efforts go unnoticed. The burnout rate for Activity Professional is very
high. The average length of time, it has been estimated for an individual to work as an
Activity Professional at any one job is eighteen months. The reason for this I believe is
simple. Some people become frustrated, feeling that they are expected to act as "baby
sitters" when the nursing staff becomes weary of caring for the more difficult residents,
coupled with being told that therapy treatments, receiving the higher rug rates, are what
bring in the revenue. So, is one department more important than the other? No! Both the
Activities department and the Therapy department should look at the whole picture of
each resident. There is a need for our Activity Professionals as much as there is a need
for the Therapist for the overall well being of the resident.

Are you aware that you can capture your activity programs on the MDS? Evaluate your
existing activities program, take a look at the activities your residents already participate
in and see which of those fall under the umbrella of restorative nursing. Maybe your
resident dismisses the Activity staff upon invitations to recreational activities. Some of the
individuals that we serve seem to have a loss of interest in some activity programs and
they may tend to withdraw with non-involvement during an anticipated short stay at your
facility. The goal is to regain their physical endurance and return home. I think that I
would have the same thought process. We all want to be at home, especially at the
holidays. Yet, our residents need respectful encouragement to retain social contacts and
recreational involvement. We all know that our residents need opportunities to participate
in life long leisure activities, which both relax and hopefully energize the residents. So
why not work with our Therapy department to augment the residents rehabilitation goals?
Offer programs of interest to the residents between therapy sessions. Educate the
residents to the program goals that may be similar to the goal of our therapies. If the
resident has a goal to walk 50-100 feet, why not walk down to the activity room? Promote
gradual exposure to alternate activities to assist with their comfort level.

The bottom line is, "What does the resident want to do?" Can the residents refuse a
therapy treatment? Yes, they can however after (3) three refusals the resident is
discharged from therapy treatment. We as Activity professionals can never give up on
the resident regardless of their participation or refusal of activities. Discuss with your
Therapy department the resident's interest that they have shown with regard to
recreational activities. This is when our Therapy department could, and should offer their
treatment at a different time. The resident should not have to choose between
socialization and receiving their therapy session. Why not both?

Working in the Activity field has its own rewards and its own unique challenges. There
are endless opportunities for us to change and rearrange the day-to-day moments that
we have. It is up to you, to make a change and decide which way that we will go. Will we
be at "war" with our Therapy Departments or will we do whatever it takes to make our
residents time in our facility meaningful?
In 2007 envision the gift that you are, to the individuals that you serve. Sometimes the
most difficult times that we face are our very best teachers in life. There is good to be
found in all situations. Embrace your Therapist; they have so much to offer to our
residents. NN

Team Challenge
By Debbie Bailey, ACC
NCCAP Vice-President

Everyone who can proudly state that they are NCCAP certified is a member of a very
extraordinary team. We can all agree that the more professionals we can attract to
become a part of this exceptional group, the more assurance we have that resident
needs are being capably addressed.

I think that we all agree the more exposure and education that can be distributed, the
better. Getting the word disseminated requires a major effort. Sending information to
administrators and other activity departments is something we need to diligently pursue.
The NCCAP office does not have the personnel resources to convert new large address
lists to mailing label lists. That's why I am calling on our NCCAP team to join forces in
order to start a more global process. Available to all who make inquiries via the Internet
is a state listing of retirement communities. The lists are large. The practical thing to do is
to target the larger cities and print the list. From that list, a project can be developed to
format the addresses on to mailing labels for NCCAP. Sounds like a daunting task? It is.

I have several suggestions on how to approach this project. If you agree this is
something that is worthwhile, commit to participate in obtaining the state lists developed
for the NCCAP office. I suggest that all NCCAP state representatives make it their
personal goal to have this accomplished by early 2007. For states with no
representatives, volunteer to do it now! Discuss it at professional activity meetings and
propose the most effective way to distribute the responsibilities to make
this happen.

As the representative for the state of Colorado, let me share my plan. We have some
very computer-literate residents living in our community. I will print out the addresses to
input as address labels. They will save this information on a CD. We will format the
addresses to fit a universal label. My suggestion is to use the shipping labels by AVERY,
for laser printers, the number is 5263, and the template for smooth feed sheets, use
template 5163. Once this is completed, the disc will then be sent to the NCCAP office for
applicable use. This would be a tremendous resource for the office to be able to draw
upon and the potential for our certified team to grow is certain. The more we are able to
educate others about our activity certification opportunities and benefits, the more
assured we can be we are the best we can be! That will be real progress! NN

NCCAP Congratulates NAAP
Kathy Hughes, ADC
NCCAP President

This April the National Association for Activity Professionals will be celebrating their 25th
Annual conference in Columbus, Ohio. As a participant at all the previous 24
conferences I can tell you from experience that it is the highlight of an activity
professional’s year to attend such a dynamic conference. It is an opportunity that not
only educates but also gives you endless networking possibilities. Sharing stories from
your facilities and ideas that have been successful are just some of the great things at a
NAAP Conference.

The “Trade Show” is the best place to find new ideas, share your ideas and meet people
who have the supplies for a successful activities program. Meeting the diverse needs of
your residents can be a challenge and it can be easier with the many resources and
companies we have to assist us. Make sure that you bring plenty of business cards or a
rubber stamp with your name and address in order to enter the “FREE” door prize give
away’s at each and every booth. And make sure to save room in your luggage for the
catalogs and items that you purchase. NAAP also sponsors a great shopping area for all
those who want to bring something back to their co-workers. Shop early and often at the
fabulous “Silent Auction” of wonderful baskets of goodies from all over the world and in
every theme.

The Opening Session with its Pomp and Circumstance is one of those opportunities to
meet activity professionals from all over the world. Each state, province and country
proudly displays its flag and the singing of the national anthems is one of the moving
aspects of the ceremony. The role call of states lets everyone know who is present and
the competition for the most from a particular state is fierce. The keynote speaker sets
the tone for the entire conference and is always educational.
NCCAP holds its annual Membership Meeting at the NAAP Conference as well and all
NCCAP members are encouraged to attend. All new information is shared at that meeting
and members are encouraged to share ideas as well.

See you at the NAAP Conference in Columbus!
The Activity Director's Office
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