pertained to elder abuse in nursing homes. The three-person panel
included a representative from a nonprofit legal organization, the
ombudsman program, and the Department of Health Services.
What I heard did not make me feel any better about our nursing
home system or the Department of Health Services, for that matter.
The representative from the department said things were improving
in nursing homes because the homes were worried about liability. I
then posed the question that if nursing homes were so worried about
liability why is there such a "crisis of care" out there. The
representative further stated that he has seen an improvement in
nursing homes in the last 20 years. The represent- ative from the
legal organization disagreed and so did I.
I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard from family
members who had their loved ones in facilities even temporarily. I've
read about lack of enforce- ment due to cutbacks. And I have also
heard horror stories about negative employer/employee relations,
which of course, filters down level by level by level to negatively
affect the care of the patient.
I asked the representative from the department's Valley office if
nursing homes were complying with Assembly Bill 1347. The deadline to
comply was July 1, 2005.
Based on my past experience with the Department of Health
Services, I was not totally surprised when the representative asked,
"What's that?" I told him that it pertained to two hours additional
dementia-specific training in nursing homes. His reply?
"I'm not familiar with it."
This particular employee and I discussed AB 1347 several times as
we met or spoke regarding my dissatisfaction with the department's
investigation of a nursing home. Ultimately, the department wound up
giving the nursing home a Class B citation and x-number of
deficiencies (the reason for the "x" instead of the actual number is
that the investigator gave me one number and a person in management
who oversees the department gave me a smaller one). By the way,
citations and deficiencies are public knowledge and are listed on
several sites including o7http://www.canhr.org.