legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Pennsylvania Nursing Home Ratings & Safety Violation Information
According to Medicare.gov, Pennsylvania has 696 nursing homes. While 478 (69%) of these facilities rank average or above on the level of care they provide, the remaining 215 (31%) have below average and much below average ratings. This substandard level of care falls below the acceptable rating allowed by Medicaid and Medicare.
For decades, there has been a significant rise in the number of cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect nationwide. Many of these victimized patients live in nursing homes, assisted living centers and rehabilitation facilities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Usually, the level of care at these facilities is significantly substandard when compared to other facilities in the United States.
Many families have no other option than to turn over the care of their loved one to a nursing facility to ensure the medical professionals provide the highest level of service. If you are considering relocating your loved one into a nursing home or searching for answers on which facilities in your community provide the best care, our lawyers have listed the most common safety violations below occurring in nursing homes in Pennsylvania.Failure to Protect Residents from All Forms of Abuse
The nursing home must protect every resident from all forms of abuse including sexual assault, neglect, physical punishment, mental and emotional distress, and physical abuse. State surveyors throughout Pennsylvania have cited numerous facilities of severe violations involving all forms of abuse. Some of these include:
- A failure to ensure that a severely cognitively impaired resident was free from abuse involving a nursing staff member who was acting in an aggressive manner (Berwick Retirement Village Nursing Center)
- Nursing staff that did not prevent neglect that resulted in a fractured arm (Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center)
- A failure to implement established procedures for the investigation of incidents to rule out neglect of a resident’s injuries (Caring Heart Rehab and Nursing Center)
- Failure to completely and thoroughly investigate an incident to rule out neglect after two residents fell (Christ the King Manor)
- A failure to investigate two incidents regarding falls with injuries and the need to transfer the resident to the hospital (Conner Williams Nursing Home)
- The nursing home did not establish their Abuse Prohibition Policy to screen potential employees for past neglect and mistreatment cases (Dunmore Health Care Center)
If a nursing home fails to follow established protocols, residents can be severely injured from falls, equipment, or dangerous substances left in unsupervised areas. Every employee at the nursing facility has a legal responsibility to maintain a safe environment for every patient. Common problems associated with accident hazards in Pennsylvania nursing facilities include:
- The facility did not maintain a system to monitor and analyze incidents or accidents to minimize the potential of injury recurrence (Baldwin Health Center)
- The nursing staff did not complete an assessment for potential safety hazards with the use of an electric lifting recliner chair that resulted in a hip fracture (Christ the King Manor)
- This home did not ensure that injury prevention devices were in place as ordered by the Physician (Falling Spring Nursing and Rehab Center)
The nursing facility has a legal responsibility to notify the State Agency anytime an allegation or an act of abuse, neglect or mistreatment occurs. Some Administrators fail to report incidents, accidents, or outright abuse promptly to the appropriate agencies which could place one or more residents in jeopardy if the situation continues. Pennsylvania state nursing home investigators cite facilities when they do not follow the law including:
- The nursing facility did not notify the appropriate State Agency of an incident of severe bodily injury involving fractures of the tibia and fibula (Ford’s Center for Rehab and Health Care Center)
Many nursing home patients can experience a severely compromised immune system when recovering from surgeries, medical conditions or taking one or more medications. Without proper protection, and the staff not following infection control protocols, a highly contagious disease in one resident can be transferred to another. Some citations involved in Pennsylvania nursing home surveys and investigations include:
- The nursing home did not follow protocols to provide a sanitary environment to eliminate cross-contamination of disease (Brighton and Rehab and Wellness Center)
- The facility did not maintain an effective infection control program related to hand hygiene (Chestnut Hill Lodge Health and Rehab Center)
Even minimal skin integrity degradation can cause the development of bedsores. Fortunately, if the nursing staff follows established protocols, many pressure wounds, decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, and pressure sores can be prevented. Specific problems that occurred at Pennsylvania nursing facilities involving pressure sores include:
- The nursing facility did not identify or address the contributing factors and the development of pressure wounds (Broad Mountain Health and Rehab Center)
- The facility did not implement interventions to prevent the worsening of skin breakdown for a resident with pressure ulcers (Carbondale Nursing and Rehab Center)
The law does not allow nursing homes to use physical restraints for convenience or control over a resident without following specific protocols including obtaining a Physician’s orders according to regulations. Unfortunately, many nursing facility staff members fail to recognize that safety belts, bedside rails, and mitten gloves restrict or restrain the resident’s ability to move about freely unencumbered.
When a physical restraint without consent is identified, the facility can receive a citation from investigators including:
- The nursing facility did not ensure that residents were free from physical restraints by making a resident wear mitten gloves (Cheltenham Nursing and Rehab Center)
Out of the nearly 700 nursing homes in Pennsylvania, the above list of citations and violations are just a small sample of the problems that occur at many facilities statewide. Other concerns include the misappropriation of resident property that could be classified as theft or abuse.
Other problems include developing, implementing and enforcing policies that prevent abuse and mistreatment by the nursing staff, administration, housekeeping, and other employees.