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MDS Section Q and the Local Contact Agency

The MDS (Minimum Data Set) 3.0 is the latest version of the MDS, an assessment tool used in nursing homes to assess the needs of residents. Section Q of the MDS 3.0 focuses on resident participation in assessment and goal setting. It is designed to identify the resident's goals and expectations relating to where s/he lives and whether s/he stays in the nursing home or transitions to other living situations. Section Q of the MDS 3.0 is to be used with all nursing home residents, regardless of payment source.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revised the MDS 3.0 Section Q to be more person-centered, provide residents with the opportunity to express their expectations for care, engage in their discharge planning goals, and initiate a referral to explore more information on the potential of returning to the community. By including interview questions in the MDS 3.0 residents are given a voice.

Nursing homes are required to notify their designated Local Contact Agency (LCA); in Maine the LCA is the Ombudsman Program, when a resident expresses a desire to learn more about options for living in the community and consents to a referral to the Local Contact Agency.

Ask the resident or their legal representative if applicable for consent to make a referral to the Ombudsman Program. Fill out the referral form and fax it to the Ombudsman Program at (207) 621-0509. If you do not have the referral form please contact the Ombudsman Program at (800) 499-0229 or (207) 621-1079 or click here.

The Ombudsman Program will contact the individual or legal representative to learn more about the resident's natural supports, barriers, and community needs. The Ombudsman Program will provide information about options and supports in the community and collaborate with the nursing home to organize a potential transition.

When someone answers yes to Section Q it is possible this may lead to a referral for the Homeward Bound program as an option for moving into the community. See the Homeward Bound page for more information.