• frail elderly;
  • nursing homes;
  • long term care;
  • gerontological nursing;
  • minimum data set;
  • Missouri


Rising nursing home (NH) costs and the poor quality of NH care make it important to recognize elders for whom NH care may be inappropriate. As a first step in developing a method to identify these elders, we examined the characteristics of NH residents requiring light-care and changes in their care level from NH admission to 12-months. Using data from the Missouri Minimal Data Set electronic database, we developed three care-level categories based on Resource Use Groups, Version III (RUG-III) and defined light-care NH residents as those requiring minimal assistance with late-loss ADLs (bed mobility, transfer, toilet use, or eating) and having no complex clinical problems. Approximately 16% of Missouri NH residents met the criteria for light-care. They had few functional problems with mobility, personal care, communication, or incontinence; approximately 33% had difficulty maintaining balance without assistance; and 50% of those admitted as light-care were still light-care at 12-months. Findings suggest that many NH residents classified as light-care by these criteria could be cared for in community settings offering fewer services than NHs. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 28: 210–219, 2005