Over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes in Los Angeles County and throughout Southern California were not subject to annual inspections by the California Department of Public Health because of the coronavirus lockdowns. In the last year, many commentators have worried that nursing home conditions—many of which were already poor—were likely to worsen given that friends and family members were not permitted to see nursing home residents and to be in a position to report signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, and that the California Department of Public Health would not be conducting inspections.
Whether those concerns ultimately prove to be a reality may become clearer in the coming weeks and months as the California Department of Public Health resumes its annual inspections of nursing homes in the state, according to a recent report from KPBS.
State Will Resume Annual Nursing Home Inspections
Beginning in March 2020, the California Department of Public Health suspended all of its annual, routine inspections of nursing homes “at the direction of its federal partner, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” according to the report, and will now resume those inspections. Yet in the past year, have nursing homes been able to engage in intentionally harmful as well as negligent behavior that has put seniors in these facilities at risk because the facilities did not have to worry about safety ratings in an inspection?
Even in pre-pandemic times, nursing homes were notoriously understaffed, and patients suffered serious harm as a result of passive neglect. Many families are concerned that the conditions have worsened over the last year.
Issues to Consider as Inspections Get Started
As the California Department of Public Health resumes its annual inspections of facilities, it may need to take additional steps to account for a year without assessment. At the same time, if the care at skilled nursing facilities has declined as a result of halted inspections and lack of family visitors to point out harms, signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse and neglect may be more evident to inspectors from the state.
At the same time, as the KPBS report underscores, if issues of nursing home abuse and neglect have indeed become more widespread, “it’s going to take a long time for Cal DPH to really get on top of this problem.” While the Department did indicate that there was no pause on inspections for “the most severe complaints,” it is possible that many complaints or reports of abuse concerns went undetected at nursing homes in Southern California and across the state.
Contact Our Los Angeles County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Whether you have specific concerns about an elderly loved one’s safety in a Southern California nursing home or you have questions about filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit, one of the experienced Los Angeles County nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm is here to help. We have years of experience assisting seniors and their families with nursing home abuse and neglect claims, and we can evaluate your case for you today. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.
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