Below are the most common assisted living license citations in California facilities, according to 2017 state licensing inspections.

There are thousands of assisted living licensed facilities throughout California, and hundreds in San Diego County. We have larger assisted living communities, and small care homes.

All California assisted living facilities, including those in San Diego County, are licensed and inspected by the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division.assisted living license citations

Some assisted living facilities are very good, most are perfectly acceptable, but some are not so good. Thankfully, most care homes and care communities that are not so good are well-meaning and attempting to improve.

Community Care Licensing is required to annually inspect all assisted living licensed facilities starting this year (2019). I’m not sure this is possible.

So it’s important for San Diego families to know what to look for when visiting any assisted living licensed care community or board and care home.

Here Are The Most Common Assisted Living License Citations From 2017 Inspections

The most common assisted living license citation was for facilities that were not kept “clean, safe, sanitary, and in good repair at all times.

This is one of the first things I look for (and smell for) when I visit San Diego assisted living facilities. If the home or community is dirty, unkempt, smells consistently bad, or has broken fixtures or furnishings, it’s almost always a red flag for me.

That said, old does not necessarily mean poor quality. I caution families to look beyond the age of a structure and it’s contents. It’s also just as important to look beyond the glitz and glitter of brand new places.

I’ve been in San Diego County care homes or care communities that aren’t new and shiny, but where care is the priority. And I’ve been in brand new facilities where care is lacking.


The second most common assisted living license citation has to do with care for a senior with dementia. Facilities did not “ensure that each resident with dementia has an annual medical assessment and a reappraisal done at least annually.”

Be sure your family member in a San Diego dementia care facility has a medical exam at least once a year. The physical and mental health of your loved one, including any behavioral changes, needs to be monitored and evaluated. Skin conditions need to be looked at, routine blood work should be performed and medications should be re-evaluated.


The third most common assisted living license citation was facilities that did not make sure their “Hot water temperature controls shall be maintained to automatically regulate…a temperature of not less than 105 degree F and not more than 120 degree F.”

While this may not seem like a big issue, burns can be very serious, especially for seniors with cognitive impairment.  I will always remember a case related to me by a San Diego elder abuse attorney of a woman left sitting in a too hot bath, severely burning the skin on her bottom!


The fourth most common citation was inspectors finding the following items: “Over-the-counter medication, nutritional supplements or vitamins, alcohol, cigarettes, and toxic substances such as certain plants, gardening supplies, cleaning supplies and disinfectants” accessible to residents with dementia, posing a risk to their health and safety.

The quality of care for your loved one in any San Diego County assisted living facility is only as good as the care staff attending to them. It’s important to know who your loved one’s caregivers are, and to make sure they are qualified and have the appropriate training.


More Common License Citations

♦ Care staff doesn’t have the appropriate first aid training. Or a staff member who has appropriate first aid or CPR training is not on duty at all times.

♦ Medications aren’t kept in a safe locked place and are accessible to persons other than employees.

♦ Dangerous items such as knives, matches, firearms and tools are accessible to residents with dementia.

♦ There’s not enough care staff to meet all the residents needs.

♦ Medications aren’t given according to a physician’s written orders.


Please keep in mind that the majority of assisted living facilities in San Diego County don’t have many, or any, of these assisted living license citations.

But it’s good to be aware, so I hope this post will help your family know what to look for when you visit any care community or care home in the area.

Please contact me directly at any time for help.

I visit all San Diego assisted living facilities, look at licensing reports regularly, get feedback from families I’ve helped over the past 10+ years, and question anything that doesn’t look, smell or seem right.