Return to Community Initiative

The MinnesotaHelp Network, Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging have implemented a new Legislative initiative called “Return to the Community”.  Official commencement of the initiative is scheduled to begin April 1, 2010.   Despite scheduled road shows and DHS training workshops, many senior care professionals are unaware of this initiative.

The initiative targets elderly adults who are currently residing in skilled nursing facilities and are paying privately for their room and board.  The state of MN has developed this initiative with the hopes of saving dollars that would be otherwise used to provide funding for long term care.  The initiative was created using two assumptions: 1) it is more cost effective for an individual to live in the community with supportive services versus a nursing home; and 2) there are individuals who are currently residing in nursing homes who could live successfully in the community with supportive services.   Given these two assumptions, the state of MN hopes to assist individuals who have the resources to pay privately for services to return to the community setting.  Their assets will last longer, thus delaying the need to apply for county or state subsidized programming.

Beginning in October, nursing home staff will be required to regularly ask residents who fit a specific profile if they would like to talk to someone about the possibility of returning to the community.  Individuals who will likely fit this profile include those who are paying privately, have minimal cognitive or medical impairments, and have a supportive person in the community.  If an individual indicates that they would like to talk to someone about returning to the community, the nursing home will be required to report this information to the state within 10 days.

A team of community living specialists have been designated by the initiative to assist nursing homes in developing a safe discharge plan, and will follow-up with the elderly individuals on a limited basis.  The number of elderly individuals who would fit the discharge profile is expected to be only a handful per nursing home per year in MN.

The state of MN anticipates that this and other initiatives will require the support of community based service providers, and encourages businesses to register with the website.  Community living specialists and the Senior Linkage Line will utilize provider information from this website for consumers who may have identified needs.  For more information about the Return to Community Initiative, contact Darci Buttke, program coordinator at 651-431-2580, or email .