Los Angeles, CA- A highly anticipated audit of the California Department of Public Health’s handling or nursing home abuse and neglect complaints, found the agency bungled a number of investigations, leaving many cases open for months, sometimes years.

The audit, released Thursday, found 11,000 unresolved cases languishing in the system with no clear game plan on how to resolve the problems within the agency, according to the Los Angeles Times. Typically, many of these complaints remained unresolved for eight months or more.

The reported noted that 40 percent of those unresolved complaints were incidents in which a resident was in danger of being harmed. And nearly a 1,000 of those cases, a nursing home staff member was the subject of accusations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Auditors noted in their report that there was a serious lack of oversight, no time limits placed on investigations and inconsistencies in how investigations were conducted. In some offices, complaints were closed before a supervisor signed of in the investigator’s report. Additionally, there is no system in place to allow the DPH to track unresolved.

Auditors suggested should adapt an agency wide policy which clearly outlines how nursing home abuse complaints should be handled and establish a time frame to conduct an investigation.

The DPH agreed with some of the findings, stating they have made improvements, but disagreed with establishing a set timeline for when investigations should be concluded, according to the Los Angeles Times.

These findings should be shocking to anyone who has a loved one living in a California nursing home. Families who must put their loved ones in nursing home put a great deal of trust in state agencies to ensure nursing homes are taking adequate care of their loved ones. A family needs to know that if a facility allows their loved one to be neglected or harmed, there will be repercussions.

But what happens when these state agencies aren’t investigating the complaints they receive or it takes months to get their attention? What can a family do? How can they be confident that the authorities are looking out for their loved ones? The sad truth is they can’t be confident state authorities will protect their elderly loved ones.

Since it appears as though state agencies are struggling to hold nursing homes accountable, then a family should consider looking to a Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney for help. Not only can an attorney investigate your claims, they can also ensure your loved one is compensated for the abuse neglect they suffered.

Nursing home residents are weak and vulnerable; this makes them easy targets for abuse and neglect. These vulnerable elderly people need someone to be their voice, when they are unable to speak up for themselves. A California nursing home abuse attorney will advocate an elderly person and assure a facility takes full responsibility for failing to protect their residents. Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect are eligible for compensation for their medical expenses and emotional distress.