Practical Advice on Choosing the Right California Nursing Home Or Assisted Living Facility

Choosing the right nursing home, assisted living facility or home health care provider can be a difficult and emotional task. You want to make sure that your loved one receives proper care and will be treated with dignity and respect. In a recent interview, J. Niley Dorit, a California nursing home abuse lawyer offered advice on how to choose a facility that’s right for you or your loved one.

Q&A: Nursing hHome and Assisted Living Facility Details

Before choosing the right facility, it’s important to understand how facilities operate. We asked Dorit several questions about facilities. Here are his answers:

Are the majority of these facilities profit based?

Assisted living domains and residential care domains are virtually all for profit. Among long-term care facilities, I think that there are many for-profit hospitals involved as well. However, some are not.

Do state agencies keep records of these facilities?

Yes. We often get records of facilities’ entire histories from the State of California – which is very good about sharing its investigative histories on a particular facility. Those histories are divided up by facility, not by patient or resident. I commonly get records from the State of California reflecting its investigative reports and conclusions about complaints or citations.

Is it difficult to obtain medical records from the facilities directly?

It can be, but it’s often due to the facilities having incomplete records. I think that’s just a result of poor administration either at a hospital or residential care facility. It may be emblematic of the fact that they don’t have plans in place where they have all of their records organized. It may be inadvertent, but it might be the result of some of the same mismanagement that leads us to having cases involving serious injuries.

Advice on choosing the right facility

Dorit provided the following advice to consumers about what to look for, and what to avoid, when choosing a facility, “It’s important to recognize that when you go to a facility, it may look very handsome and elegant with manicured lawns, nice artwork and chandeliers. However, I think it’s important to look at the staff and the administrator as well. Make sure that there’s enough staff and that they seem to be knowledgeable about how to handle basic needs and are interested in paying attention to residents and patients. If they’re not invested in what they’re doing, that may be a red flag.”

Helpful Resources

There are several resources available to help you find the right facility. According to Dorit, “There are a couple of good web sites in California. One of them, www.calbar.ca.gov/, is operated by the California Bar Association. It has a dropdown item for elder abuse and if you click on that, it will take you to some very helpful resources. There’s also a private web site for nursing home information, www.canhr.org/, that has very helpful links and information about backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses of different facilities.”