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Is My Loved One's Elder Care Facility Licensed in California?

Garcia & Artigliere

In California, there are different kinds of elder care facilities that provide assisted living services for seniors. Many, but not all, of these facilities, are required to be licensed by the state.

If a loved one is living in a nursing home or other facility, you can check to see if it is licensed by looking at the list of elderly assisted living facilities posted on the internet by the California Department of Social Service’s Community Care Licensing Division. You can search the list to find the facility you want to know about, and you will be able to see if it is licensed or not. You will also see other information about the facility, including when it has been inspected, whether there have been any complaints to the state, and whether the facility has ever been given a citation.

Which Elderly Care Facilities Are Required to Be Licensed?

The California agencies that license nursing homes to use the term “Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly,” or “RCFE,” for short, to refer to facilities where elderly people live and receive assisted-living services.

An RCFE must get a state license if it provides long-term skilled nursing services or if all of the following apply:

  • 75 percent or more of the residents are older than 59
  • The facility provides different levels of supervision and care and
  • Residents (or their guardians) voluntarily chose to live in the facility.

Elder Care Facilities That Don’t Need a License

Caregiving for the elderly doesn’t require an RCFE license if it is:

  • Care given at home by a family member
  • Primary care at a clinic or
  • Acute care at a general hospital.

When to Seek Help

You should seek help if you believe that your loved one’s care facility is required to be licensed, but is not, or is violating the law because of:

  • Unsafe conditions
  • Improper care
  • Abuse of residents
  • Neglect of residents
  • Inadequate staffing or
  • Anything else that would violate state licensing laws.

If you suspect a violation, you can speak to the facility staff, file a complaint with the regional office that oversees your loved one’s facility, or talk to a nursing home abuse attorney. Call Garcia & Artigliere at (800) 328-2630 to find out more about what we can do to protect your loved one’s rights.


We offer free and confidential consultations. Call (800) 328-2630 Learn About Your Legal Options

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