AB 979 modernizes existing family council laws, so that members can meet and communicate electronically and continue to operate during a public health emergency. The bill ensures that facilities will be more responsive to concerns raised by family councils, discourages operators from undermining family council activities, and clarifies that control of the family council membership and participation in meetings lies with the family council itself. AB 979 also harmonizes family council protections in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which is long overdue.
Despite dangerous side effects, condemnation by care providers, and a decade-long national and state campaign to reduce the inappropriate use of psychotropic drugs in nursing homes, the U.S. Office of Inspector General recently found that 80% of long-stay nursing home residents are receiving psychotropic drugs. A big reason why so many residents are drugged is that they are never given information about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to psychotropic drugs and the choice to refuse them. AB 48 will better ensure that residents are given the right information and meaningful choice.
With AB 1309, Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes continued her excellent work to protect nursing home resident rights, building on 2021’s AB 849. AB 1309 requires nursing homes to share discharge plans and other key documents with residents they propose to discharge. This additional information will enable residents to better assess the safety of a proposed discharge and improve their chances of winning an administrative appeal if they pursue one. AB 1309 requires facilities to provide residents with: – The evaluation of the resident’s discharge needs and discharge plan; – An explanation of the resident’s needs that cannot be met and the facility’s attempts to meet those needs if the facility is discharging the resident because it allegedly cannot meet their needs; and – A copy of the resident’s discharge summary.