At Valentine Law Group, we strive to educate the public about how to prevent abuse and neglect. Here are our Top 5 tips as to how you can find the best care for your loved one and prevent abuse.
- Research using trustworthy sources. See below for databases that will show you evaluation reports and complaints for skilled nursing facilities and elderly assisted living facilities.
- Visit the facility. Your own observations will provide you with a wealth of information as to whether that facility is right for your loved one. Ask questions and take notes.
- Choose your attending physician. When elders are admitted to a skilled nursing facility, they may be assigned an attending physician. California law gives your loved one the right to select their own physician. Exercise this right and find an attending physician that best suits your loved one’s needs.
- Write a directive. Oftentimes, your loved one is unable to advocate for their own medical decisions. A directive tells the facility that under no circumstances can the facility administer new medications for any diagnoses that did not exist at the time of admission unless they obtain the consent of your loved one’s power of attorney.
- Be proactive. While you trust that your loved one is receiving the best possible level of care, take the time and energy to be as involved as possible. Watch for signs of possible abuse and make your concerns known to the facility.
For a more detailed explanation of our Top 5 tips, please read this article authored by Ms. Valentine.
Below, please find information from various sources aimed at investigating and preventing elder abuse and neglect.
CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES “FIVE STAR” RATING
The California Health & Safety Code requires that a skilled nursing facility that has been certified for the purposes of Medicare or Medicaid post their overall annual facility rating as determined by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Five-Star Quality Rating System was created to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions. Nursing home ratings are assigned based on ratings given to health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Search using a zip code and/or facility name.
The website for the Five-Star Rating is here.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH FACILITY DATABASE
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) curates a database for the 10,000+ health care facilities that fall under their regulation. This database provides consumers with information about licensed and certified facilities throughout California. Search using a zip code and/or facility name.
The website for the CDPH Facility Information Database is here.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES ELDERLY ASSISTED LIVING DATABASE
The California Department of Social Services (DSS) curates a database for facilities licensed as Elderly Assisted Living Facilities, otherwise known as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly. Consumers can find facility evaluation reports and can also see the number of complaints and citations a facility has received. Search by facility name or address. Blue text on a facility’s page are links that will lead to documents available to the public.
The website for the DSS Elderly Assisted Living Database is here.
The Sacramento Bee published an outstanding three-part article series on the lesser-known aspects of California nursing homes. Find this excellent source of information here:
Unmasked, Part 1: How California’s largest nursing home chains perform
Unmasked, Part 2: Who owns California’s nursing homes
Unmasked, Part 3: California falls short in disclosing nursing home ownership