Every skilled nursing facility (nursing home) in California is licensed by the California Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH, in turn, is charged with the responsibility of monitoring nursing homes in the state, which includes conducting annual inspections and investigating complaints of abuse or neglect.
Most complaints involve allegations of abuse or neglect of the nursing home resident, but any topic can be the subject of a complaint, including, but not limited to, poor staffing, unsafe conditions, mistreatment, transfer and discharge concerns, generally poor care, or a violation of patient rights. Once a complaint is made – and any person may make a complaint – the DPH will create a file and assign an investigator to the case. In most cases, the investigation is concluded within 90 days. For a list of local DPH offices click here.
If you have a complaint, it is usually a good idea to first address those concerns to the nursing facility itself, whether it is the administrator or the family council. If dissatisfied with the response, it is suggested to call the local ombudsman in your county for further advice. If a complaint involves serious allegations of abuse or neglect that has resulted in some injury, it probably a good idea to get the advice of an attorney with experience in nursing home abuse or neglect cases, such as the attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP.
All complaints can be made orally or in writing.