Report: California Nursing Home Complaints Increase

A large part of advocacy within the nursing home industry is reporting problems. Whether it’s simply saying something to staff or going through the steps to report abuse and neglect to higher authorities, it is vital to say something. However, it’s disheartening to see just how necessary reporting has become. Recent statistics from California Department of Public Health have shown that the number of complaints have increased, and continue to do so. 

PC: Wesley Tingey via Unsplash

Reporting Complaints

Reporting complaints is often riddled with issues. And though progress has been made with new complaint substantiation rules, and more awareness of the fears surrounding reporting issues, there is still a lot to be done to ensure resident safety. It is crucial for family and friends to speak up and empower residents to advocate on their own behalf whenever possible. 

Two of the best ways to officially file a complaint are to:

  • Contact the Ombudsman. An ombudsman will help you throughout the process of filing a complaint, make sure you have all the resources you need, and act as an advocate on your behalf.
  • File State Survey Agency (SSA) Complaint. The State Survey Agency is responsible for investigating nursing home complaints. If little is being done to solve your case, or if you feel like you are being ignored, you can contact the State Survey Agency for your state and complete their filing process.

The Statistics 

When it comes to abuse reports and the noticeable uptick in filings, the numbers don’t lie. The California Department of Public Health publishes the numbers every year, recording quarterly complaint filings. In the final quarter of 2023, 3,830 complaints were filed. And so far, in just the first portion of the 2023-2024 fiscal year, 4,055 complaints have been filed. This is additionally compared to the first quarter of the 2020-2021 fiscal year which reported 3,270 complaints. 

From year to year, the number climbs and, while we like to see that problems are being reported, we can’t help but feel discouraged that there is seemingly an increase of things to report in the first place. 

The good news is that, despite the enormous volume of reports, the “closed” cases tend to match or exceed the reports every quarter. This suggests that the reports are getting attention and being investigated. Departments are still catching up in the wake of COVID, but the amount of “open” cases has been steadily decreasing. 

At the end of the day, the increase in California nursing home complaints is just another reason to educate the community on what they can do to advocate, ensure residents are aware of their rights, and fight for better staffing and a higher quality of care.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-460-1187) today for a FREE consultation and the best legal representation.