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next steps & resources

This information on this website should not be used as the sole measure of quality of care in a nursing home. While high numbers of violations generally indicate troubled facilities, a facility with low numbers may not necessarily offer excellent care. Many variables affect these statistics, making an absolute numerical comparison less than perfect for choosing a facility. For example, different Dept. of Health Services (DHS) branch offices may vary in their enforcement of the law.

Visit the Facilities

It is important to visit potential facilities. Use the data listed here to select facilities that seem promising in terms of location, services and violation records, but then visit the facilities.

CANHR has an evaluation checklist (also included with the Pre-Placement Packet which may be ordered from us) to assist in the decision-making process.

You might also call your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman to see if that office has any direct experience with the facility. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is a state-administered, federally-funded program; the Ombudsman does not have enforcement power, but is charged to act as an advocate for long-term care residents and their loved ones.

Ask to See the Licensing Survey

The licensing survey is the DHS inspection report for the most recent licensing/certification inspection. The licensing survey will spell out the nature of each deficiency issued during that inspection. Facilities are required to keep the licensing survey on their premises, and make it available to the public. The report may also be viewed by visiting the facility's local DHS Licensing and Certification Division office.
Information of survey results for most facilities can be viewed at the federal Nursing Home Compare website. The data on the Nursing Home Compare site show the scope and severity of each federal deficiency issued on the most recent licensing survey, but no descriptions of why each deficiency was actually issued, and only for facilities that are part of either the Medicare or Medicaid programs (not facilities that are private pay only, about 10% of California facilities).

Medi-Cal, and Affording Long-Term Care

Many people believe they have to spend down all of a resident's assets to zero before the resident can be eligible for assistance under the Medi-Cal (Medicaid) program. The truth is that there are various provisions under the Medi-Cal program to prevent the resident's family from undue hardship in financing the care of the resident.

If you have questions about Medi-Cal eligibility, CANHR has many relevant Medi-Cal fact sheets on the main CANHR website. You are also welcome to call the CANHR office.

For cases where an estate planning attorney would be beneficial, CANHR's Lawyer Referral Service is networked to estate planners throughout California.

Trouble With Facilities

Once a placement has been made, if a situation arises that cannot be resolved with the facilities, in terms of the rights or care of the resident, you have numerous resources.

The DHS Licensing and Certification Office is the enforcement agency for all California nursing homes, and takes complaints about nursing homes. Complaints may be filed anonymously, for more information, see How to File a Complaint on the CANHR main website.

CANHR's Lawyer Referral Service can also help with cases of rights violations, and neglect and abuse.

If you have questions, call CANHR at (415) 974-5171 or (800) 474-1116 (consumers only, please).

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 12:18 PM

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