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CMS Requirement for Baseline Care Plans a Potentially Positive Change for Nursing Home Residents

Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the first phase of basic requirements for participation that must be met by nursing homes in order to receive funding. On November 28th, the second phase of guidelines will go into effect, hopefully improving care for the more than 1.5 million Americans who reside in a nursing home.

Biggest Change: Baseline Care Plan Required For Each Resident 
The most major addition to the requirements for participation is the implementation of something called a baseline care plan. The baseline care plan is an overview of each resident’s plan of care, which includes dietary and mobility restrictions, as well as therapy and social services, required medications, and physician orders. This plan must be created within 48 hours of admission and a summary of the baseline care plan should be shared with the resident and/or resident’s representative.

Also, when the baseline care plan itself is requested by the resident or resident’s representative, it must be shared within 24 hours (except for weekends and holidays). Written or electronic copies of the care plan must be made available within two working days.

According to CMS, the baseline care plan “provides instructions for the provision of effective and person-centered care to each resident. This means that the baseline care plan should strike a balance between conditions and risks affecting the resident’s health and safety, and what is important to him or her, within the limitations of the baseline care plan timeframe.”