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Pennsylvania DOH Taking a Closer Look at Nursing Home Complaints  

By: Anapol Weiss

Do you know the signs of nursing home abuse?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is increasing enforcement of quality care issues in nursing homes following criticism that some residents in the state are not receiving adequate care.

Last year, the state Health Department put twice as many nursing home licenses on provisional status, and it issued 32 fines – that’s triple the number of fines in 2014. In addition to recently adding state nursing home surveyors, the Department of Health also formed a Nursing Home Quality Improvement Task Force and started collaborating more closely with other agencies.

The spike in state enforcement comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed in July by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office against Golden Living Center homes, a national nursing home chain with 36 facilities in Pennsylvania. The suit alleged a range of problems and noted that inspectors had identified several flaws in patient care that did not result in punishment. Some of the nursing home neglect complaints included:

  • residents not receiving showers or other hygiene services as required,

  • residents not being escorted to the dining hall and sometimes missing meals entirely,

  • long waits for responses to call bells or no responses at all.

Since reversing a 2012 decision to reject anonymous complaints, the department has received a staggering number of reports of problems and taken more disciplinary actions. In 2015, it received 2,600 reports – up from 1,930 the prior year. About one third of those reports were substantiated.

Despite the increase in state enforcement, those who suspect their loved one is being abused are urged to contact an experienced law firm right away.

The attorneys at Anapol Weiss are dedicated to helping nursing home abuse victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey get answers and seek justice. Contact us for assistance if you suspect your loved one is suffering from abuse, neglect or mistreatment. We can investigate the situation and answer any questions you may have.