Return To Community Initiative

In the 2009 legislative session, an initiative known as Return to Community was passed. This initiative is targeted towards nursing home residents who have expressed a desire to return to the community and have the resources and supports to assist with the transition.

Hear Allen's story

Return to Community facilitates successful transitions from the nursing home to the community by:

  • Helping to change the mindset that nursing homes are the best long-term residence
  • Using public resources efficiently
  • Respecting people's preferences for living and caregiver arrangements
  • Promoting good health and quality of life

The initiative focuses on the nursing home resident and their family by:

  • Beginning discharge planning at nursing home admission
  • Equipping residents with self-care skills
  • Supporting family caregivers
  • Lining up community resources
  • Providing follow-up after nursing home discharge

Nursing home residents targeted through this effort are those who:

  • Are early in their nursing home stay (45 days after admission)
  • Have the desire and resources to return to the community and/or supports to assist with the transition
  • Are private pay
  • Would otherwise become long stay residents

The Return to Community initiative has won two awards since launching in April of 2010. They include:

State Government Innovation Award
In July 2015, the Return to Community initiative was celebrated as one of ten State Government Innovation Awards winners by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In addition, only three of these award winners received a video highlight, including the Return to Community initiative. This was premiered at an awards ceremony at the History Center in St. Paul.

Hear Ernie’s story that was highlighted during the ceremony

Bright Idea Designation
In January 2017, the Return to Community initiative was given the Bright Idea designation which it proudly displays on the website. Bright Idea recognizes creative and promising government programs and partnerships. It is offered through the Innovations in Government Program, a program of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. Find out more at the Government Innovators Network website.

The Return to Community initiative is a partnership between public agencies, nursing facilities, hospitals and other health care providers, implemented through the MinnesotaHelp Network™. This includes the Department of Human Services, the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Area Agencies on Aging and the Senior LinkAge Line®.

Senior LinkAge Line® specialists, known as Community Living Specialists, assist residents in person with the transition from the nursing facility to the community. Follow up phone calls will be completed for a number of years with the individuals who are transitioned from the nursing home. This is a unique feature of this initiative.

Resources available include:

View Start Planning Now to Return and Remain at Home Successfully (pdf)
View Returning Home: Making a Successful Move to Your Home and Community booklet (pdf)

Hear more stories about those who were assisted by the Return to Community Initiative

Annetta's story

Charles' story

Dickie’s story

Sherry’s story