Nursing home data can help with providing community alternatives, says attorney
Jan. 20, 2004 -- There are at least 267,691 disabled people, old and young, nationally, who are living in nursing homes but who want to move out, says national disability rights attorney Steve Gold. Gold's Information Bulletins, a service developed for advocates working to expand alternatives to nursing homes, explains to advocates how to find out statewide figures on the number of individuals in nursing homes who would like to live in the community, using information available from the federal Centers for MEedicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
"Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment forms are completed for all residents in certified nursing homes, regardless of source of payment for the individual resident," says CMS. The Minimum Data Set (MDS) is part of the federally mandated process for clinical assessment of all residents in Medicare or Medicaid certified nursing homes.
MDS assessment data are used to generate
Community Preference Data
"Discharge Potential and Overall Status" figures provide the numbers of individuals state by state who have expressed a preference for living in the community (data as of Dec. 30, 2003) Information as to how advocates can use this data, as well as a breakdown in counts, is available in Gold's Information Bulletin # 58
Assistive Technology Needs Data
"Nationally, he says, data shows that 10 percent of nursing home residents are 'rarely or never understood' " by staff, "and another 16 percent are only 'sometimes understood.' In numbers, that is about 350,000 persons."
In Information Bulletin # 63, Gold explains how advocates can use information contained in the MDS to determine the numbers and locations of nursing home residents who need but do not have assistive technology, such as assisted speech, or even motorized wheelchairs to allow them some control over their environment in nursing homes.
"Widespread absence of such minimal assistive technology," says Gold, "adds to the institutionalized persons feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness and of being trapped."
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