Things to Know About RCFE

residential care facility, elderly, RCFE

What is a Residential Care Facility?

A Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (“RCFE”) is an alternative to in-home care for people over 60 years old who cannot live independently at their residence and require some supervision or assistance.

RCEFs are non-medical facilities that provide:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Personal care assistance and supervision
  • Medication dispensation
  • Arrangement of care by Home Health Agencies and Hospice Agencies
  • Living accommodations, housekeeping, meals, entertainment, and other services.

Rooms may be private or shared. Residents receive personal care and meals, and staff are available around the clock.

Who Regulates RCFEs?

The facilities are licensed and regulated by the Department of Social Services and Community Care Licensing (CCL). The California Code of Regulations, Title, 22 Division 6, Chapter 8, provides policies and procedures that RCFEs are supposed to follow.

Are RCFEs Inspected?

The government inspects RCFEs every five years. The inspection is called a survey, which includes facility deficiencies. The current inspection system is entirely inadequate to protect the well-being and safety of the residents. As a result, negligence occurs, which is why family members must be vigilant in watching the care the elder receives. 

Are RCFEs the Same as Skilled Nursing Facilities?

No. RCFEs are not allowed to accept residents who require skilled nursing care. Unfortunately, a substantial number of facilities accept residents with acute medical problems requiring a higher level of care. They take residents they cannot adequately care for to keep their facilities filled and to make as much money as they can. They falsely advertise that they have a registered nurse on staff, or a doctor who visits the facility to alleviate any family concerns.

Accepting residents who require skilled nursing care violates California law. The violation creates significant problems for the health and safety of the residents because the RCFE cannot adequately care for the resident.

What Should Family Members Do to Select a Good RCFE?

Family members should thoroughly research the RCFE before placement, including the following:

  • Tour as many facilities as you can. Don’t rely solely on a referral agency because many have never stepped foot in the facility.
  • Ask the facility for their latest surveys.
  • Ask the facility for resident complaints filed with the Department of Social Services for the most recent three-year period.
  • Ask the facility for their caregiver per resident ratio. Many facilities do not inadequately staff.

Actions to Take if Your Loved One is Injured or Killed in an RCFE

The causes of injury or death in an RCFE can be complicated. RCFEs will do everything to hide, manipulate, or destroy evidence and documentation to escape liability. It is advisable to schedule a consultation with an attorney. You should make sure the attorney has a thorough understanding of the law and how RCFEs operate.

Why MCIS Lawyers?

Ike Sherman is the partner in charge of our elder neglect practice area. He worked as a licensed Administrator of an 80+ bed RCFE. He knows first-hand how RCFEs are supposed to be operated, and can identify the cause of injury or death, what the RCFE failed to do that contributed to the injury or death.


Schedule a free consultation with MCIS Lawyers if your family member has suffered an injury or death at an RCFE. No pressure, sound advice. 

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