Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I suspect abuse or neglect in a skilled nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or adult day health care program for the developmentally disabled?

Call our office at 650-780-5707 to report the issue. You can remain anonymous.

Can you recommend a good residential care facility?

Finding a facility can be a daunting task for residents and their families. Ombudsman Services is not a placement agency but we do offer assistance to individuals and their family and friends who are trying to navigate the long term care system. When visiting facilities to determine what is best for your family member, you may want to look for the following:
  • Check the license for the facility and the administrator.
  • Is the current year license prominently displayed?
  • Are the residents dressed and up and about?
  • Are they socializing with one another?
  • Do staff treat residents with respect?
  • Are you allowed to see all of the facility?
  • Is it well lit, clean and inviting?
  • Is the temperature comfortable?
  • Are there any unpleasant odors?
  • Is the surface of the floor appropriate for walkers and wheelchairs?
  • Are there handrails to help with walking?
  • Are the shower rooms easily accessible for residents who require walkers or wheelchairs?
  • Where are the designated smoking areas?
  • If so, are they away from the building?
  • How is the food?
  • Does the facility offer alternate selections or otherwise accommodate personal preferences?
In addition:
  • If possible, visit at mealtime to observe what’s actually being served
  • Spend some time talking to the residents. Who can better tell you about a facility than the people living there? What do they like or don’t like? Tell them that you are visiting facilities to select one for a family member.

What is a Skilled Nursing Facility?

A Skilled Nursing Facility provides residents with access to 24 hour skilled nursing care, related services, or rehabilitative services for the injured, disabled, or sick individuals. Residents in SNFs are under the direction of their personal care physician or the facilities medical director. Each resident must have an individualized plan of care developed by the physician, resident and/or their responsible party, and facility staff.

What is a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly?

A Residential Care Facility for the Elderly provides non-medical care and supervision for persons aged 60 and older who may need assistance with Activities of Daily Living. These activities include help with bathing, grooming, toileting, eating, ambulating and assistance with medications. RCFEs range in size from small facilities with six residents to large assisted living facilities with hundreds of residents. Residents of RCFEs should not require on-going medical care.

What do ombudsmen do?

Long-term care ombudsmen are advocates for residents of nursing homes, board and care homes and assisted living facilities. Ombudsmen provide information about how to find a facility and what to do to get quality care. They are trained to resolve problems. If you want, the ombudsman can assist you with complaints. However, unless you give the ombudsman permission to share your concerns, these matters are kept confidential. Under the federal Older Americans Act, every state is required to have an Ombudsman Program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system. Whether through individual contact with residents or systemic advocacy, ombudsmen make a difference in the lives of residents in long-term care facilities everyday.

What is required to become a volunteer ombudsman?

Our Field Ombudsman come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences ranging from nurse, teacher, lawyer and auditor. The qualifications are someone who is able to complete the training program, demonstrates compassion and understanding for residents and is able to make the 15-20 hour a month commitment. Our volunteers find the work incredibly rewarding and we even have some that have been with us more than 20 years. We would love to talk to you about it if you are interested. For more information, click on this link:

How much does residential care cost?

The cost of paying for long-term care is determined on a case by case basis and can change significantly based on the level of care needed and area where the resident lives. Payment for care provided by Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly are not subsidized by any federal or state programs. There are some facilities within our county that do accept residents who are beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI/SSP),but that is determined on an individual basis.