Melanie Siltala has spent most of her career as a nurse working with older adults in long-term care facilities. Motivated to forge connections and make a positive difference in residents’ lives she came to Capitol Lakes as an MDS – or minimum data set – nurse and currently serves as Capitol Lakes’ MDS Coordinator.
As MDS Coordinator Melanie creates care plans to honor residents wishes and collects data necessary for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. The job requires a keen attention to detail and an ability to adapt when the federal government changes data collection requirements. One such change is expected on October 1, 2023.
“The pandemic pushed off smaller reporting changes,” says Siltala, “and with the public health emergency ending we have changes that would have been rolled out slowly over three years coming to us all at once this fall. I knew I needed to get up to speed on these changes so that I could in turn train Health Center staff. That’s why I was eager to attend this year’s American Association of Post-Acute Care Nurses (AAPACN) conference.”
The AAPACN conference – held every April – provides several informational tracks for MDS nurses as well as Directors of Nursing in long-term care facilities. The Capitol Lakes Foundation was proud to honor Melanie’s request and award her a Professional Development Scholarship to attend.
“I’m so grateful that Capitol Lakes has a Foundation which offers these opportunities,” recounts Siltala. “In my previous employment it wasn’t always easy to get funding for professional development which I find so important to re-energize my work and re-affirm I’m on the right path. I appreciate the donors who made this possible for me and who also give my colleagues a chance for professional improvement.”
While Melanie was glad to attend this year’s conference to gain valuable information ahead of the data collection change, she is already looking forward to potentially attending next April as well to confer with colleagues after the transition has taken place. Thanks to you, the Foundation will be here to again assist Melanie as well as other Capitol Lakes team members as they strive to provide the best care possible to our residents.