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Glendale Uptown Home is a large 240 bed nursing home facility located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On June 30, 2009 there was a small fire that occurred across the hall from the room of Selma Kirk, an 82 year-old resident. The fire resulted in some damage to the room, but no charring, and all the residents in the wing who had been evacuated were returned to their rooms.
Ms. Kirk’s daughter, Susan Margoles, went to the facility after the fire to check on her mother and take photographs of the fire damage. Ms. Margoles reported that the administrators got upset and banned her from her mother’s room for taking these photographs. A Philadelphia Daily News Columnist, Ronnie Polaneczky, was able to get into Ms. Kirk’s room on three separate occasions just by signing in at the front desk. The facility’s executive director would not comment about the situation, citing patient-privacy laws.
Ms. Margoles told the reporter that there was caution tape over the doorway to the wing where the fire occurred. On this visit, she used her camera to take pictures of the damaged room. A facility administrator witnessed Ms. Margoles taking the photographs and accused her of trespassing, telling her that she had to delete the photos or she would be arrested. Ms. Margoles said that she finally just gave her camera to an administrator who deleted the photos. Then, when she came back to visit her elderly mother to deliver clean clothes, the administration told her that she would be arrested if she went past the lobby and was indefinitely banned from her mother’s room.
Ms. Margoles filed an emergency petition in Common Pleas Court for court-ordered access to her mother’s room. Then, on July 9, 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Health visited Glendale Uptown to investigate Ms. Margoles’ complaints. Investigators did not find any nursing home deficiencies and described Ms. Margoles’ mother (Ms. Kirk) as congenial. However, later that day, the nursing home called to say that Ms. Kirk had suffered a change in mental status and was being admitted to the hospital. The day after Ms. Kirk’s hospitalization, Glendale’s executive director wrote to Ms. Margoles, stating that her mother was not welcome back. Ms. Margoles found a new nursing home for her mother at Manor Care Huntington Valley.
According to the Medicare website, the Glendale Uptown Home received one out of five stars, which is a much below average rating. The facility received only two out of five starts for health inspections, which is a below average rating. In the past year, the nursing home had six health deficiencies, which is equal to the average number of health deficiencies in Pennsylvania, and two less than the average number of health deficiencies in the United States.
For laws related to Pennsylvania nursing homes, look here.
She took pix, nursing home booted her mom, Philadelphia Daily News, August 4, 2009
Just Do It. Photograph Everything, Nursing Homes Abuse Blog, June 13, 2008
Videotape Confirms Resident Murdered By Peer At North Carolina Facility, Nursing Homes Abuse Blog, June 7, 2009