What is the role of the LVN in completing MDS assessments?

Ken BellIndustryLeave a Comment

What are Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) allowed to do when it comes to completing quarterly and comprehensive MDS 3.0 assessments? What is best practice?

This topic has come up several times among SimpleLTC customers recently, which indicates continuing confusion regarding exactly what role LVNs should play in completing the MDS.

For the definitive answer, we contacted Cheryl Shiffer (BSN, RN, RAC-CT), State MDS Clinical Coordinator for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).

Here’s the scoop:

Can the LVN complete a quarterly MDS all by him or herself?

As the MDS 3.0 RAI Manual recommends, the MDS is best completed by an interdisciplinary team (IDT) that brings together diverse backgrounds and experience to benefit the resident. But what if the entire IDT is unavailable due to illness, training, leave, etc.? Can the LVN complete a quarterly MDS all by him or herself?

The answer is yes, because the quarterly MDS is a focused assessment and the Board of Nursing (BON) writes that it is within the scope of practice of a LVN to complete focused assessments independently. It’s important to note, though, that this is neither desired nor best practice because the IDT should be the driving force behind MDS assessments. However, LVN staff would not be violating their scope of practice by doing so.

Can the LVN complete a comprehensive MDS all by him or herself?

In another scenario, what if the entire IDT is unavailable for whatever reason (illness, training, etc.)? Can the LVN complete a comprehensive MDS all by him or herself?

The answer is no, because the Board of Nursing (BON) has written that it is beyond the scope of a LVN to complete a comprehensive MDS all by him or herself. Again, this is because the IDT approach is considered best practice for serving the assessment needs of the resident.

More questions? Download this handy guide.

To help skilled nursing facilities and LTC providers, Ms. Shiffer has developed a printable handout, which includes all the regulatory references and appropriate contact information. To download it, click here.

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