We have started a new series, “Ask NAAP” If you have any questions for NAAP, please submit them to Alisa Tagg, NAAP Association Director at email@example.com.
Q: Does the Activity Professional have to be licensed/certified to complete and/or sign the MDS?
A: The longer answer: The RAI (Resident Assessment Instrument) consists of the MDS (Minimum Data Set) and the CAA (Care Area Assessment). Federal regulations at §483.20(h)-(i) tell us that a registered nurse must conduct or coordinate each assessment with the appropriate participation of health professionals and sign and certify that the assessment is complete. Members of the IDT (Interdisciplinary Team) are usually assigned to answer certain sections of the MDS and the CAA. Nursing communities are left to determine who should participate in the assessment process, how the assessment process is completed, and how the assessment information is documented. Appropriate participation of health professionals can include the interdisciplinary team members, but not limited to a social service designee, dietician, and activity director. IDT members answer the questions and sign verifying the information documented, but the RN signs the overall assessment, certifying the responses and marking it complete. All IDT professionals must be trained and qualified to participate in this process.
The short answer: Activity Professionals can conduct the MDS interview and input the responses received. An Activity Professional brings experience and knowledge to the table in understanding the needs, strengths, and preferences of the resident to ensure the best quality of care and quality of life. The Activity Professional does not need to be licensed or certified, but they do need to trained and qualified to conduct the interview and document the responses.