Minimum Data Set

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The Minimum Data Set (MDS) is part of the U.S. federally mandated process for clinical assessment of all residents in Medicare or Medicaid certified nursing homes. This process provides a comprehensive assessment of each resident's functional capabilities and helps nursing home staff identify health problems.

Resource Utilization Groups (RUG) are part of this process, and provide the foundation upon which a resident's individual care plan is formulated. MDS assessment forms are completed for all residents in certified nursing homes, regardless of source of payment for the individual resident. MDS assessments are required for residents on admission to the nursing facility and then periodically, within specific guidelines and time frames. In most cases, participants in the assessment process are licensed health care professionals, usually Registered Nurses, employed by the nursing home. MDS information is transmitted electronically by nursing homes to the MDS database in their respective states. MDS information from the state databases is captured into the national MDS database at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Categories of MDS (Minimum Data Set)

  1. Cognitive patterns
  2. Communication and hearing patterns
  3. Vision patterns
  4. Physical functioning and structural problems
  5. Continence
  6. Psychosocial well-being
  7. Mood and behavior patterns
  8. Activity pursuit patterns
  9. Disease diagnoses
  10. Other health conditions
  11. Oral/nutritional status
  12. Oral/dental status
  13. Skin condition
  14. Medication use
  15. Treatments and procedures