How Much Staff Do I Need for MDS?

We all know that a lot of time, energy and effort go into completing an MDS.  But how many hours should you really be spending?


Factors to Consider in Calculating MDS Staffing Time

  • What is your average LTC census per year?
  • What is your average Rehab Census per year?
  • What is your average LOS for Rehab residents?


Current Benchmarks for MDS Nursing Hours per Resident

These are some general benchmarks for the average number of MDS Nursing hours spent per resident on MDS Completions:
Each LTC resident uses approximately 5 hours of Nursing MDS Time per year

Rehab Residents use MDS time based upon their length of stay:

  • Less than 12 days = 2.15 hours per resident
  • Greater than 12 days but less than 30 days = 3.5 hours per resident


Long-Term Care Example

Let's consider a SNF with an average LTC Census of 100 residents:

  • avg census = 100
  • avg MDS hours per resident = 5 hours per year (or 300 minutes/year)
  • 100 x 300 minutes = 30,000 minutes per year (or 500 hours/year)
  • 500 hours/52 weeks = 9.61 hours per week
  • 9.61 hours/5 days = 1.92 hours per day

That's right - you should be factoring in 1.9 hours every day - or nearly 10 hours per week - for MDS Nursing Time for LTC residents!  This time allows for completion of the following MDS sections:  A, B, E, G, H, I, J, M, N, O, P, S, V


Rehab Example

Now let's consider a SNF with an Average Rehab Census (ARC) of 20 residents:

  • avg ARC census = 20
  • avg length of stay (LOS) = 12 days or less
  • 365/12 (LOS) = 31  (meaning each rehab bed is filled approximately 31 times per year)
  • 31 x 20 (ARC) = 620 admissions per year
  • less than 12 days = 2.15 hours per resident (or 135 minutes)
  • 620 admits per year x 135 minutes per resident = 83,700 minutes per year
  • 83,700 minutes/52 weeks = 1,609 minutes/week
  • 1,609 minutes / 5 days = 321 minutes or 5.36 hours hours per day

Even more significant here - you should be factoring in 5.3 every day - almost 27 hours per week - for MDS Nursing Time for Rehab residents.


Other Factors

Remember that these benchmarks are only for MDS Nursing Time spent on MDS completions.  But an MDS Coordinator generally has other responsibilities, such as:

  • MDS Scheduling
  • Submitting MDS Assessments
  • Medicare Meetings
  • Completing Cut Letters
  • Insurance Reviews
  • Managment of CMI (during CMI window)
  • Morning Report Meetings

Therefore, when determining the amount of staff needed in your MDS Department, be sure to factor in all the jobs the MDS Coordinator must complete.  This includes asking for the hours spent each day to complete non-MDS Completion tasks for use in your calculations.