The Ombudsman Services of Northern California, an organization dedicated to creating a corps of compassionate advocates for residents in long-term care facilities believes that state budget cuts to its ombudsman program will lead directly to an increase in cases of elder abuse and neglect.
This year the organization, which tracks approximately 1,600 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, lost two-thirds of its staff due to shortfalls in the state budget. According to Joan Parks, nursing facilities are already taking advantage of the lack of oversight.
“Our monitoring in these homes was seen as a form of prevention,” Parks said.
Prior to the reduction in staffing, the ombudsman program would visit assisted living facilities at least once per month, but now can only afford to go once per year. There is currently legislation to restore funding for California ombudsman programs, but no action has been taken.
The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abuse or neglected in the nursing home or assisted living setting.