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
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
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,
Referral Service is networked to estate planners throughout
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,
to File a Complaint on the CANHR main website.
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).