How to Report Elder Abuse in California

An Informative Guide by our San Diego Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

If you have concerns about the care of nursing home resident or patient which are not resolved after speaking with the nursing home staff and/or administrator, our California nursing home neglect attorneys recommend trying to find assistance from a long-term care ombudsman. Many counties in the State of California have a long-term care ombudsman program (check www.aging.ca.gov/programs/ombudsman_contacts.asp to find out more information) and where available, the ombudsman can work with nursing home residents and patients, as well as their families, to resolve concerns about abuse or neglect.

If that is not an option or if it fails to resolve the problems or concerns, anyone, not just residents or their families, can file a complaint against a nursing home with the proper governing agency, either the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health where a Skilled Nursing Facility (“SNF”) is involved, or the Community Care Division of the Department of Social Services where a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (“RCFE”) is involved

You can file a complaint about any type of abuse and/or neglect, including physical abuse (improper use of restraints, bruises, cuts, fractures/broken bones, etc.) or neglect (abandonment, bedsores, dirty or unsafe living conditions, etc.) as well as emotional or behavioral abuse or neglect (caregiver will not allow resident or patient to speak for his or herself, patient or resident is uncharacteristically withdrawn or quiet). If an abusive or negligent caretaker has caused serious personal injury, you may also want to hire a California nursing home abuse attorney to seek compensation for your pain and suffering.

Filing a Complaint Against a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

Skilled Nursing Facilities are regulated by the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health. The CDPH’s Licensing and Certification Division has many offices throughout the state. You can make your report in writing or by calling to speak with an investigator. Your report should include all of the important information the investigator will need to review your claim, including:

  • Your name and contact information, and if you are filing a report on behalf of a nursing home resident or patient, identify your relationship to him or her
  • Name of the nursing home patient or resident whom you suspect is suffering abuse or neglect
  • Name and address of the nursing home
  • List specific complaints or concerns (provide as many details as you can, but try to be brief)
  • Provide as many dates, times, names of staff and other important details as you can

The Licensing and Certification Division also has a form you can complete and submit online, go to the Health Information page of the Department of Public Health’s website, www.cdph.ca.gov to use the online reporting process.

Filing a Complaint Against a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE)

Again, any person has the right to file a complaint against a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly to report concerns about abuse, neglect, poor staffing, inadequate provision of healthy food and/or a sanitary and safe living environment, to name just a few.

Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly are licensed and regulated by the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division. Community Care Licensing issues licenses to facilities and conducts periodic inspections to ensure that minimum standards are being maintained, and also has the authority to investigate complaints of treatment of residents.

If you have attempted to address your concerns with the staff and/or administration of a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly and were not able to resolve them, it may become necessary to file a formal complaint with your county’s long-term care Ombudsmans’ program (see discussion and website information above) or with the Community Care Licensing Senior Care Program Office nearest to you.

You can make your report in writing or by calling to speak with an investigator. Your report should include all of the important information the investigator will need to review your claim. Our San Diego nursing home neglect lawyers recommend including:

  • Your name and contact information, and if you are filing a report on behalf of a nursing home resident or patient, identify your relationship to him or her
  • Name of the nursing home patient or resident whom you suspect is suffering abuse or neglect
  • Name and address of the nursing home
  • List specific complaints or concerns (provide as many details as you can, but try to be brief)
  • Provide as many dates, times, names of staff and other important details as you can

Community Care Licensing has more information available on its website, http://ccld.ca.gov/.

When Reporting Elder Abuse is not Enough

In circumstances of elder abuse and neglect that result in serious bodily injury or even death, filing a formal complaint is simply not enough. You are also entitled to seek compensation for pain, suffering, medical bills and attorney fees under the law. The San Diego nursing home negligence lawyers of our firm are experienced in all aspects of nursing home litigation. We can help you file a formal complaint and will take your case to court to recover the damages that you rightfully deserve. We are compassionate and understand that coming to terms with the abuse of a loved one is not easy, but we have helped many in the past and will be there for you in your time of need.

We handle Abuse & Neglect Cases in the following Southern California counties and communities:

Carlsbad | Del Mar | Encinitas | Vista | San Marcos | Poway | Oceanside | Carmel Valley | La Jolla | Rancho Bernardo | La Mesa | El Cajon