The topic of elder abuse received a nod at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year. The GOP’s official party platform notes that providing safe and affordable care for seniors is a priority for the party, reports McKnights’s.com. Specifically, the GOP promises to implement new programs that will help protect the elderly from abuse. According to Forbes.com, the Democratic Party’s platform for 2016 also mentions elder abuse and notes that the party is committed to fighting the immense problem of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the United States. While it is great that the problems posed by elder abuse are on politicians’ radars, individuals in California may be wondering what they themselves can do to help fight elder abuse today. One way that individuals can help fight elder abuse is by diligently reporting all suspected instances of nursing home abuse. This article briefly outlines who is eligible to file an elder abuse claim in California, and lists the steps involved in properly reporting nursing home elder abuse.
Who Can File an Elder Abuse Complaint?
In California, anyone can file an elder abuse complaint against a nursing home. In other words, you do not have to be a nursing home resident or family member to speak out. If you suspect that nursing home elder abuse is occurring, or previously occurred, in California follow the steps below to file a complaint with the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health (DPH).
How to File an Elder Abuse Complaint
Step 1: The Department of Public Health is responsible for enforcing nursing home laws and regulations in California and therefore should be the first agency that you contact after ensuring that the abused senior is no longer in immediate danger. In order to find the DPH Licensing and Certification district office that is closest to you, visit California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform’s website.
Step 2: After filing a complaint with DPH, the agency will assign an investigator to your case within two business days and will investigate the nursing home in question with 10 days. However, if the suspected elder abuse involves a threat of imminent danger, then DPH is required to investigate within 24 hours. Due to the serious nature of elder abuse, it is advisable to contact the DPH investigator assigned to your case as soon as possible to see if you can help the investigation in any way.
Step 3: If you are not satisfied with DPH’s findings, you have the right appeal via an informal conference as long as you request the conference in writing within five days of receiving DPH’s findings. Additionally, if you are still not satisfied after your informal conference, you have 15 days during which you may appeal further to the Deputy Director.
Need Nursing Home Abuse Legal Advice?
While filing an elder abuse claim with the Department of Public Health is an important step to take if you suspect that elder abuse has occurred, abusing a senior citizen is a crime and you may want to also take legal action against the abuser. The elder abuse lawyers at the Case Barnett Law Firm are well versed in California’s elder abuse laws and are committed to zealously protecting the rights of senior citizens. Call our Newport Beach office today at (949) 861-2990 to schedule a free consultation.