The nationwide under-reporting of nursing home abuse in the U.S. borders on criminality.
Federal investigators found that more than one-quarter of the 134 cases of nursing home abuse that were uncovered were not reported to the police. The majority of these abuse cases involved sexual assault. Because there are fewer and fewer individuals qualified to care for the elderly in nursing homes, it is becoming more difficult to ensure that the individual safety of residents can be guaranteed. This is increasingly true, with corporations taking over more of the operations at these facilities. In trying to maximize profit, corporations often cut back on qualified staff members and hire people who do not possess a necessary set of skills, but who will accept low salaries. This combination is a ticking time bomb for disaster. Highly qualified and experienced elder abuse attorneys in Pennsylvania are regularly being contacted by family members of elderly nursing home residents who have been harmed.
Pennsylvania Nursing Homes with Low Ratings
The following nursing homes have been given low ratings based on health inspections, staffing, and quality measures. Four nursing homes on this list are marked as Special Focus Facilities (SFF), which indicates that these nursing homes have committed consistent violations of health and safety regulations. The facilities marked as SFF are given twice the number of federal inspections.
|Nursing Home||Overall Rating||Health Inspections||Staffing||Quality Measures|
|Willow Terrace||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Below Average|
|Grove at Latrobe, The||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Below Average|
|Corner View Nursing and Rehabilitation Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Average|
|Falling Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Above Average|
|Shippensburg Health Care Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Average||Above Average|
|Cheltenham Nursing and Rehab C||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average|
|Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center||Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Much Above Average|
|Mountain View Care and Rehabilitation Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Average|
|Meadow View Nursing Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Below Average|
|Chestnut Hill Lodge Health and Rehab CTR||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average|
|Gardens at Blue Ridge, The||Below Average||Much Below Average||Average||Average|
|Spring Creek Rehabilitation and Nursing Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average|
|Gardens at Stroud, The||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Below Average|
|Cathedral Village||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Much Above Average||Much Below Average|
|Garden Spring Nursing and Rehabilitation Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Average|
|William Penn Care Center||Much Below Average||Much Below Average||Below Average||Much Below Average|
|Gardens at West Shore, The||Special Focus Facility||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Twin Lakes Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center||Special Focus Facility||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Grove at North Huntingdon, The||Special Focus Facility||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Conner-Williams Nursing Home||Special Focus Facility||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Elder Population in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania ranks in the top 5 states for having the largest number of senior citizens, with more than 20 percent of Pennsylvania’s population being elderly. At least 2.7 million people are over the age of 60, and nearly 2.5 percent are older than 85. The steady rise in numbers of the older population, along with recession in the state, seems to have produced a surge of neglect, abuse, abandonment and financial exploitation of the Keystone State’s elderly.
The SeniorLAW Center reports that elderly Americans who are victimized by neglect, abuse, sexual assault or financial exploitation have an increased risk of premature death, up to a staggering three-fold increase over other Americans the same age who have not suffered such abuse. When an elderly person is isolated, the likelihood of him or her being preyed upon by a self-serving person increases dramatically.
If a caregiver or family member isolates an elderly American, the older person is stripped of the safety net provided by gardening circles, religious institutions, membership clubs, etc. When the elderly are part of such groups and are active in society, others notice their condition and can step in with a helping hand. The result, however, of isolation can be bruises, broken bones, dramatic weight loss, rope burns, and confusion. It is much easier for predatory individuals to hide their abusiveness from prying eyes if their elderly victims are hidden away and isolated. Sadly, elder abuse can take place anywhere from long-term care facilities, residential nursing homes, and private home settings.
Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse
Because common signs of abuse or neglect can easily be confused with other causes, it is necessary for loved ones to use vigilance when beginning to investigate an elderly individual’s care. Of course, something as blatant as uncleanness is an obvious sign of neglect.
Below are some common signs of nursing home abuse in Pennsylvania:
- Untreated cuts or wounds
- Sudden weight loss
- Bruises on the buttocks or groin area
- Lice, fleas or dirt in the residence
- Foul odor or smell of waste
- A sudden increase in the sedation of the individual
If a family is told by a nursing home that policies do not allow for their elderly loved one to be visited alone, this should certainly raise a compelling red flag. Mistreatment may be transpiring, and a complaint should be made to management as quickly as possible. If treatment does not improve, immediately remove the elderly loved one from the Pennsylvania nursing home.
Recovery from Nursing Home Abuse
Parties responsible for elderly abuse and neglect must be held accountable. Several nursing homes in Pennsylvania face litigation by law firms for such acts. The attorney general’s office is involved in investigating such abuse and neglect. Elderly victims should be able to obtain the quality care they deserve without fear of harm.
Experienced and caring legal representatives can help nursing home abuse victims recover damages such as:
- Cost of medical treatment
- Mental and emotional harm
- Financial losses from extortion or fraud
- Cost of additional care necessitated by the abuse
- Punitive damages
An elderly victim is entitled to recover financial damages from the individuals and entities who inflicted harm. The perpetrator may have been a staff member of a care facility who secretly abused a resident, or it could have been a family member who isolated and neglected the elderly individual and fraudulently took advantage of powers of attorney. Regardless, the victim has the right to receive compensation for the unspeakable harm endured.
Liability of PA Nursing Homes and Employees
Under a corporate negligence legal theory, a nursing home in Pennsylvania may be found directly liable for injuries. This type of case would look to systemic or institutional negligence instead of individual negligence from an employee. The injured nursing home resident would have to provide evidence that the center had the knowledge, actual or constructive, of an issue taking place that led to harm for the resident. If a pattern of behavior took place over an extended amount of time, the corporation should have been aware of the dangerous condition, therefore, constructive notice may be shown.
Pennsylvania nursing homes have a duty toward its residents to:
- Choose and retain competent staff
- Oversee the care its employees provide
- Enforce policies and rules to ensure proper and adequate care
- Use reasonable care to ensure equipment and facilities are adequate
Negligent actions of a nursing home employee can be imputed to the nursing care facility. This is referred to as vicarious liability, and nursing homes in the state of Pennsylvania can be found vicariously liable for negligent or abusive acts committed by their employees.
To further clarify, a nursing home facility has a duty to protect its residents from unreasonable risk of being harmed physically. In addition, the facility must provide first aid after learning about or having reason to know that a resident of the facility is ill or has been injured. In addition, the facility is subject to liability for any physical harm that results from its failure to exercise reasonable care if such failure elevated the risk of harm, and if such harm is suffered in the course of the resident’s reliance on the nursing center for personal care. Due to the fact that a large number of residents are elderly and ill, they need specialized care, and the nursing home’s duty to the patient can be significant.
Help for Injured Pennsylvania Nursing Home Residents
If a loved one has suffered elder abuse, he or she is among the thousands of elderly per year in the U.S. who are victimized. Even when an elderly person is rescued from abuse, this individual is three times more likely to die within a few years. Anyone who has suffered such a horrific ordeal deserves a caring, highly qualified attorney to step in and help bring justice and recompense to the situation. These crimes against the elderly should not be swept under the rug, allowing for others to be mistreated in the same manner.
Call our Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyers today.