CHAIRWOMAN DIANNE JACOB
SUPERVISOR GREG COX
SAN DIEGO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Contacts: Steve Schmidt, 619-206-9108; Luis Monteagudo, 619-531-5439
COUNTY TO HELP FAMILIES FIND QUALITY ELDER CARE
San Diego County is teaming up with residential care facilities to help consumers find quality long-term care for the elderly.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed Tuesday (10/28) to develop a rating system for residential care facilities – an idea raised earlier this year by board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Supervisor Greg Cox.
Nearly 20 facilities have volunteered to participate in the initial pilot phase of the program, one of several elder care reforms initiated by the county in recent months.
“Our goal is to put a spotlight on the best facilities so families can find a home they can trust for their loved ones,” said Jacob. “Many families today aren’t even sure where to start their search for quality care, but a rating system will help steer them in the right direction.”
Jacob and Cox initially proposed the rating system in the wake of media reports of poor care and negligence at some facilities. U-T San Diego and other media outlets have documented disturbing gaps in treatment and supervision that have led to illness and death.
“Placing an aging relative in a long-term residential care facility is one of the most gut-wrenching and complex decisions a family can make,” said Supervisor Cox. “We need to give families the solid information they need to help guide them.”
A facility’s rating will be based on a wide range of factors, including staffing levels, medication management and dementia care. The county plans to seek and hire a community organization to work out the details and implement the program.
The creation of a rating system is the latest in a string of reforms launched by the county since Jacob highlighted the issue of elder care in her State of the County speech in January.
Since the start of the year, the county has:
• Beefed up its long-term care ombudsman program. Patient advocates with the program investigate complaints and serve as the county’s eyes and ears in the field.
• Created a special unit in the District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against residents of the facilities. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood have spearheaded the effort.
• Successfully lobbied for legislation in Sacramento to boost the health and safety of care facility residents.
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