If you have a loved one who is a resident in a nursing home, you should be able to expect that he or she is receiving a standard level of care and being treated with compassion and dignity. After all, the facility may have made these promises to you when you were researching possible nursing homes, and you may not have seen any evidence suggesting care was inadequate.
However, a recent report has suggested that there have been hundreds of cases of nursing home resident deaths stemming from negligent care that were not properly recorded or penalized. This means that a facility's care standards could be much worse than what has been reported.
The report was conducted by Disability Rights California after it reviewed and analyzed cases involving resident death across the state. It found that in a troubling amount of situations, the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division issued less severe penalties and citations for conduct that contributed to the death of a nursing home resident.
The DRC has made several recommendations that would make reporting more accurate and more useful. These recommendations include:
- Establishing more consistency in issuing citations
- Developing more consistent standards for the different levels of citations
- Increasing fines for violations leading to resident death
- Increasing transparency when reporting possible misconduct and the resulting citations
These recommendations aim to improve care at California nursing homes by more consistently penalizing and reporting misconduct. Further, they would provide more accurate information for families of residents and potential residents regarding a facility's care history.
Misconduct, including neglect and abuse, in nursing homes is indeed a troubling issue across California. If you have questions or concerns about the care your loved one is or is not receiving, it can be critical to address them sooner, rather than later. Consulting an attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options to protect your loved one.