Elder abuse is on the rise throughout California, which is terrifying for people who need to make the difficult decision to move a loved one to a nursing home facility. If you suspect your family member is a victim of nursing home abuse, you must take immediate action. Knowing how to report nursing home abuse in California is essential. If your loved one’s health is in danger, immediately contact 911 before doing anything else. Your next step should be to contact the experienced California personal injury attorneys at Silva Injury Law to schedule an appointment.
Steps to Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in California
Start by documenting the abuse as much as possible. Take photos of your family member’s injuries, and keep a journal of incidents. Photos can be crucial pieces of evidence in a nursing home abuse lawsuit. Here are a couple of steps to remember when you need to report suspected nursing home abuse in California.
Contact the Primary Care Physician
If the suspected abuse isn’t severe enough to call 911, you could start a conversation with your loved one’s primary doctor—provided they are not associated with the nursing home facility. Any medical professional employed by the nursing home or associated with them in some manner could choose to side with the nursing home to protect their job. You want to speak with a doctor who is an independent physician and will be an advocate for your family member.
File a Complaint with the California Department of Public Health (DPH)
In California, the Department of Public Health oversees complaints related to statewide nursing homes. Allegations of elder abuse could result in criminal charges against one or more parties, which is why filing an official complaint is crucial. Under California Health and Safety Code Section 1420(a)(1), the Department of Public Health should respond to your complaint within 48 hours to confirm someone is assigned to review these allegations.
You want to notify as many people as possible to ensure that someone listens to your concerns. Stopping the abuse not only helps your family member but can also keep other people from enduring similar abuse in the future. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are underreported across the country. The only way that some agencies find out about the problem is when a family member makes a complaint.
Contact a Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure a complaint about nursing home abuse is taken seriously. You want an attorney who has experience with elder abuse claims. Don’t look for a lawyer that specializes only in auto accidents or slip and fall matters. Elder abuse cases can be complex, and you want a strong litigator on your side.
Who Do I Call to Report Nursing Home Abuse?
The Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification offices investigate issues concerning nursing homes. When preparing your written complaint, make sure to include all the following:
- The facility name, address, and phone number;
- Full name of your loved one in the facility;
- Your contact information and relationship to the resident;
- Specific complaints about the potential abuse;
- A list of suspected incidents and dates/times;
- Staff names if you know of individuals who might be potentially involved;
- Contact information for potential witnesses; and
- A list of records you believe investigators should review.
California offers several other options for reporting nursing home abuse as well.
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program has a CRISISline 800-231-4024, where you can report elder abuse in nursing home facilities.
- Report the suspected abuse to your California Assembly Member and Senator. You should inform elected officials of what is happening in these facilities.
- You can also contact your local sheriff or police department.
- If there is any Medi-Cal fraud or severe abuse complaints, contact the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA).
It’s crucial to create a paper trail to ensure your information doesn’t get lost. Be sure only to list specific facts in your written complaints. Avoid opinions and generalizations.
Contact Silva Injury Law
If you have questions about reporting nursing home abuse in California, Silva Injury Law is here to help. Attorney Michael Joe Silva understands the serious nature of nursing home abuse. With years of experience as a prosecutor, he has the skills necessary to file complaints with agencies and pursue personal injury lawsuits against these nursing home facilities and employees. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn how we can assist you.
FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP
At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.