Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Block aims to improve care for elderly in residential care facilities, prohibit reprisals for 911 calls


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Marty Block (SD-39) today announced he will introduce legislation to reform the decades-old laws regulating oversight of residential care facilities (RCFEs) in California.

“Over the past few years, 27 San Diego County seniors have died because of injuries and neglect suffered in residential care facilities,” Block said. “That is a shameful and unconscionable record.”

Block said the California Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Act passed in 1985 has not changed despite an increase in the number of residential care facilities and new developments since its enactment. The non-medical facilities are now dealing with residents who need greater medical care. “We haven’t kept pace with the oversight of RCFEs as the care needs of our seniors have changed, especially in the area of staff training requirements,” Block said.

“If we want to treat a loved one to a manicure, the licensed nail technician would have 400 hours of training. If we want their hair cut, the licensed cosmetologist would have 1,600 hours of training and 3,200 hours of apprenticeship behind her or him.

“But for a residential facility direct care giver responsible for a frail and elderly patient who might need oxygen, suffer from dementia or bedsores or who might need a catheter, the initial  training is only 10 hours and four hours annually thereafter,” Block said. “It makes no sense.”

Block would increase training requirements as follows:

  • Administrators: Increase certification training from 40 to 80 hours and continuing education from 40 to 60 hours every two years.
  • Direct Care Staff: Increase initial training from 10 to 40 hours and continuing education from 4 to 20 hours per year.
  • Dementia Care Staff: Increase initial training from 6 to 15 hours and continuing education from 8 to 12 hours per year.
  • Self-Administration of Medicine: Increase training for staff that will assist in the administration of medicine. In facilities with 15 or fewer residents: increase training from 6 to 16 hours. In facilities with 16 or more residents: increase training from 16 to 32 hours. In addition, regardless of facility size, staff would be required to increase their continuing education hours from 4 to 8 per year.
  • Staff Serving At-Risk Residents: Establish initial training of 15 hours and 12 hours of continuing education per year.
  • Higher Acuity: Require facilities that accept and retain residents with restricted or specialized health conditions to employ appropriate medical personnel on a full or part-time basis as needed.

Block said his legislation will also prohibit retaliation against employees who call 911 when residents need urgent care. “Employees should not have to fear the consequences for doing the right thing in life and death situations,” he stated.

“We need to act now to end the dangers and abuse faced by those who have raised us and loved us, who have worked hard all their lives,” Block said. “They deserve caring, competent care and their families deserve peace of mind when trusting their loved ones to residential care facilities.”


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