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State nursing home reports show much room for improvement

People in California who have parents or loved ones reaching their later years know that they may have some difficult choices to make when it comes to finding them affordable and reliable assistance and medical care. California's unprecedented aging population is putting a strain on the number of nursing home facilities and home health care nurses, especially as today's seniors are, on average, living longer lives than ever before.

But while the health care industry has been largely able to keep up with burgeoning demand, California's nursing home regulatory system has failed at the task of providing much-needed oversight and regulation. A recent study released by the California Department of Public Health showed several ways in which the Licensing and Certification program, which is responsible for regulation of health care facilities including nursing homes, could be doing a much better job.

Some of the major problems in the program include failure to keep up with and provide a reliable reporting mechanism for hospital and medical errors, delays in the legislative process to get much needed reforms put into place, and failure to keep qualified employees on staff due to either budget cuts or high industry turnover rates.

While the regulatory system struggles to get back on track, people with loved ones receiving medical or assisted living care can't be guaranteed that they will receive the quality of care they deserve. The best policing mechanism starts with those closest to the patient. Family and close friends should be on the lookout for changes in mood, health and other telltale signs of nursing home neglect or abuse. Upon the first suspicion, these people should not hesitate to call an experienced California personal injury attorney for more information.

Source: California Department of Public Health "Licensing and Certification Initial Assessment and Gap Analysis" accessed May 11, 2015

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