March 2007

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The Long Term Care Residences point datalayer contains the locations of licensed nursing homes (NH), rest homes (RH), and assisted living facilities (ALF) in Massachusetts.  Data on nursing homes and rest homes was by provided by Phil Mello, Division of Health Care Quality (DHCQ), Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  A list of assisted living facilities information was provided by Beth Shelton, Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.  The update published in March of 2007 is based on listing as of May 2006 for ALF data and February 2007 for NH and RH data.

Long-term care residences provide housing and services for individuals who are managing illness and/or disability attributed to physical and/or mental health conditions.  While terminology may vary, generally long-term care facilities are distinguished by the type of medical and custodial (non-medical services such as dressing, bathing, etc.) care they provide, the relative independence of their residents, and the types of on-site amenities.  Furthermore, some facilities cater to specific patient populations (e.g. Alzheimer's patients).

For the purposes of this datalayer, a nursing home is defined as a residential facility that provides 24-hour nursing care, rehabilitative services and activities of daily living to the chronically ill who require a relatively high level of institutional support.  A rest home provides 24-hour supervision and supportive services for individuals who do not routinely need nursing or medical care.  Similarly, assisted living facilities provide residents with housing and various daily living support services, but usually do not offer medical care.  Assisted living facilities often emphasize greater autonomy and privacy for residents through individual apartment-style rentals.

Other residential facilities that provide long term care such as group homes (i.e. boarding homes or congregate housing) and hospice facilities are not explicitly specified in this datalayer.  Many locations in this datalayer, however, may offer additional services ranging from independent retirement living to intensive skilled nursing and palliative care.  Non-residential care locations such as adult day health, rehabilitation, and senior centers are omitted.

MassGIS stores the data as LONGTERMCARE_PT. With the March 2007 update this layer replaces NURSRESTHOMES_PT, which did not contain assisted living facilities.


MDPH staff used Accumail address correction software to clean and standardize addresses, and then geocoded the lists using TeleAtlas and/or Navteq street centerlines. Wherever possible, MDPH staff adjusted geocoded point locations to better represent actual locations of the facilities. Spatial refinement was done using a variety of sources (orthogonal and oblique aerial imagery, on-line property cards, facility websites, etc). MassGIS staff performed additional quality assurance and adjusted the location of some features.


The layer's point attribute table contains the following fields:
Item Name Description
GISID Unqiue record identifier
FACID Unique number assigned to each licensed NH and RH and maintained through license renewal
Type of Facility:
 ALF - Assisted Living Facility
 NH - Nursing Home
 RH - Rest Home
FAC_NAME Facility Name
ADDRESS Primary address of facility
ADDRESS_OTHER Other address elements 
PO_BOX Post Office Box
MAIL_CITY Postal Town name (may contain unofficial town names)
ZIPCODE Postal ZIP Code 
PLUS_FOUR ZIP Plus Four code
TOWN_ID Unique sequential numeric identifier for municipalities (1-351)
TOTAL_BEDS Licensed bed quota
Spatial precision code:
 R - Located on facility rooftop based on ortho imagery
 G - Geocoded 
TOTAL_UNITS Number of residential units at facility 


MDPH maintains the layer and will provide any updates to MassGIS. Updates, comments and inquiries should be addressed to:

Bureau of Environmental Health - GIS
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
250 Washington Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

617-624-5757 (voice)
617-624-5777 (FAX)

Last Updated 7/10/2007