Nursing Home Abuse Laws in California

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If you have a family member or a friend in a nursing home, it is important to know that they are safe. However, The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one out of every ten people over the age of 60 in this country will experience some form of elder abuse. In many cases, nursing home residents are neglected or abused by staff or volunteers at the facility. The state of California has very specific laws and regulations in place to prevent nursing home abuse. Nursing home facilities in this state are regulated by the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification Division.

Nursing Home Abuse Laws in California

The four basic care requirements

In California, the law requires that nursing homes cover four requirements that are considered basic care for the residents in their facilities. These four requirements are:

  • Helping the patient with their physical, mental, and medical wellbeing.
  • Helping ensure the patient’s condition does not get worse unless deterioration is medically unavoidable.
  • Helping ensure that the patient maintains their health or even improves their health through medical care and treatment.
  • Helping ensure that a patient has the right to choose, while also ensuring that care and therapy are available to the patient.

What are Title 22 Licensing Requirements?

Title 22 is a law in California that sets out requirements that every nursing home in the state must follow. Whenever there is a concern of neglect or abuse within a nursing home, Title 22 will likely be a focus of any criminal or civil complaint. Title 22 covers vital issues such as:

  • Food service provided
  • Personal care provided
  • The nursing home’s supervision and observation of patients/residents
  • Planned activities available for patients/residents
  • Whether there are safe living accommodations available
  • Whether the nursing home has provided arrangements for dental and proper medical care

The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act

California adopted the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA) in 1990 as a way to help eliminate nursing home abuse and neglect. Under this law, nursing home abuse and neglect are defined as “physical abuse, neglect, fiduciary abuse, abandonment, isolation or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering, the deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services which are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.”

This law allows for those who have suffered nursing home abuse to seek attorney’s fees for their case as well as punitive damages against the alleged at-fault party.

Additional California nursing home abuse laws

In addition to the laws discussed above, California also says various standards for personal care in nursing homes.

  • Food and nutrition. The state requires that residents receive adequate nutrition. The laws require that facilities reasonably accommodate a resident’s preferences for food and that they follow and prepared menus that meet national dietary standards.
  • Daily care and hygiene. State law requires that residents of nursing homes be provided with necessary assistance when bathing, dressing, eating, and other basic daily needs. Nursing homes should also maintain clean and dry skin for residents. Linens and clothing must be consistently changed.
  • Medical services. Nursing home residents have the right to select their own physician without barriers placed by the nursing home. Once a physician has been selected, they must generally supervise the resident’s care at least every 30 days, including face-to-face evaluations of the resident.