AHCA Awards Program



​​​This year, COVID was an enormous, unforeseen challenge that has resulted in every person working in long term care to step up and go above and beyond expectations. With that in mind, after much consideration, we made the difficult decision to hold off on the awards program this year. At a time when our entire profession is doing so much, many of our awards would recognize just one person. 

However, all nursing home staff in the U.S. will be awarded the 2021 McKnight Prize for Healthcare Outbreak Heroes by the CDC Foundation and the Evelyn and Thomas McKnight Family Fund for Patient Safety. This recognition will be done at the 72nd AHCA/NCAL Convention to celebrate our amazing staff and caregivers who do incredible things within our industry on a daily basis.​​​​​​​

We encourage you to submit your heartfelt stories of residents who have recovered from COVID and the long term care heroes who are battling this virus to our Faces of Care site. Thank for your understanding, and we look forward to resuming the AHCA/NCAL Awards in 2022!​​

Each year, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) honors individuals who are dedicated to improving the quality of lives of residents and their surrounding communities. 
All AHCA member facilities are encouraged to apply, including skilled nursing facilities, short and long term care facilities, Not for Profit (NFP) long term care providers, intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) residential services providers (including intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICFs/IID), and other individuals who work in the long term care field, including direct care, education, researching, and resident advocacy.

​Members may nominate eligible candidates in one of four categories:


AHCA Administrator of the Year Award

This award recognizes an administrator or executive director who demonstrates
outstanding innovation, achievement, and capabilities in their provision of high-quality, person-centered care in a service-oriented culture in a long term care facility.

AHCA Program of the Year Award

This award recognizes programs that bring together residents, families, staff, volunteers, and the community to celebrate residents and the services provided within a skilled nursing facility. Nominees will be evaluated on their activity plans and implementation resulting in outstanding special activities and community events for their residents, families, staff, and volunteers to enjoy.

AHCA Noble Caregiver Award

This award recognizes frontline caregivers, support and office staff from any department for their contributions that lead to improved quality of life for the residents and create a better work environment for the facility's staff. This includes, but is not limited to, direct care staff from nursing (also includes CNAs), therapists, support/office staff, housekeeping, dietary, activities/recreation, laundry, and maintenance departments.​

AHCA Volunteer of the Year Award ​​

This award recognizes honorees for their volunteer commitment, significantly improving the daily life of the residents. AHCA will honor ONE volunteer from one of the following categories:

1.  Adult: An individual, 20 years of age or older, who has volunteered in a member facility for at least one continuous year prior to being nominated for the award.

2.  Young Adult: An individual, 13 to 19 years of age, who has volunteered in a member facility for at least one continuous year prior to being nominated for the award.

3.  Group: A distinct organization that has provided group volunteer services or participated in a series of activities with a member facility’s residents for at least one continuous year prior to being nominated for the award. Examples of this category include, but are not limited to: Boy and Girl Scouts, Rotary Clubs, garden clubs, employee clubs, church groups, etc. People informally volunteering together do not constitute a group and do not qualify.

All nominations must be submitted electronically via Wufoo (links to each form are below). Faxed or handwritten nominations are not accepted. Honorees in each category will be recognized at AHCA/NCAL’s Annual Convention and Expo in October 2020​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Please see the AHCA Rules and Guidelines for more information.

Please visit the webpage for the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award, which recognizes an individual that has made significant national contributions to advancing quality performance in long-term and/or post-acute care, including either skilled nursing or assisted living settings.​