Monitoring Care at California Nursing Homes

A company that runs 20 nursing homes in California has agreed to increase its staffing levels as part of a settlement with the California Attorney General’s office. Skilled Heathcare Group, Inc. has homes in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara and Fresno counties.

The patients were found to have bedsores and suffered from malnutrition, dehydration and over-medication — all conditions largely attributed to the lack of adequate staff. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to independent monitoring for two years and to cover the cost of the monitoring at approximately $350,000 per year.

The patients at Skilled Healthcare’s facilities seem to be safe, at least for now. But if you have a friend or family member who lives in a nursing home, you need to be vigilant. Check your family member’s physical, emotional and mental condition every time you visit. Be aware of any changes in weight or physical strength, signs of pain, emotional trauma or sudden changes in the person’s mental state.

If your concerns are not answered to your satisfaction by a supervisor, ask to be included in the next scheduled care meeting. Every patient in a California facility has a plan of care, and the entire care team, including doctors, nurses and aides meets periodically to assess the patient’s status. The care meeting is a good opportunity to discuss your concerns with everyone who will be responsible for your friend or family member’s health and safety.

If you are still uncomfortable about your loved one’s care, you can request information from the state ombudsman. You can also contact our office. Sometimes a lawyer’s involvement is the best way to ensure that your loved one gets the best care possible. A medical malpractice lawyer can also advise you as to whether your family member or friend may be entitled to compensation for the way the nursing home has treated (or failed to treat) them in the past.

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