A nursing home is a place where elderly individuals go and live when they require some form of assistance with their everyday tasks or simply don’t want to live alone any longer. Sadly, it is also a place where abuse, neglect, and exploitation are occurring as well. While you would expect that an elderly individual who is vulnerable and possibly even desperate for help would be treated kindly and respectful, there are cases involving mistreatment and neglect that arise, despite these circumstances.
And what’s worse is that when a complaint is filed against a healthcare employee or a facility for the abuse or neglect that was inflicted, there is a chance that the complaint won’t be investigated properly, according to a report by Community Legal Services of Philadelphia [Source: The Inquirer]. In fact, this report indicates that the Pennsylvania Department of Health is doing a poor job of investigating these cases that are brought to their attention which would mean they aren’t being addressed and these residents would still be subjected to the same inappropriate behavior and unhealthy conditions.
Here is some of the evidence the source listed as proof that highlights why the report claims the health department is handling abuse cases poorly. “From 2015 to 2017, nursing home inspectors dismissed 85 percent of complaints against Philadelphia nursing homes as unsubstantiated,” or unable to be proven. And during that same time period, the Cheltenham Nursing & Rehabilitation Center had 33 complaints filed against it, but only three were substantiated by investigators.
Although records show that many facilities that have had complaints filed against them were cited for violations, “they may have been downplayed by regulators.” For instance, there was a case involving a maggot infestation of a patient’s wound at the Caring Heart Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. The reason the infestation was discovered was because of a “strong, pungent, noxious odor” that was coming from the resident’s room, the state inspector said. The staff even said that there were flies in the patient’s room.
The state characterized this case as an “isolated, relatively low-level problem” with “potential for more than minimal harm.” After hearing this, many legal experts were appalled simply because this wouldn’t exactly be classified as an isolated matter nor would it be considered as a low-level problem. The fact is, it took time for that patient’s wound to develop into the condition it was in, it wasn’t something that happened overnight. The source highlighted that one legal expert attributed this to “a high level of understaffing and poor care.”
But the real issue is that if investigators aren’t citing these cases appropriately, it doesn’t truly show the level of care that is actually being provided at these facilities. And that in return could result in more individuals coming to live there with the impression that only isolated cases of abuse have occurred, nothing serious or life-threatening. Because it has become difficult for many to rely on departments and agencies that should be regulating these nursing homes, your best bet is to hire a nursing home abuse attorney in the event you ever have an issue arise.
A Philadelphia, PA nursing home abuse lawyer can help gather all the necessary evidence you will need and build a strong case around it. If you are the victim of abuse or neglect and would like to speak with a local PA personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home misconduct now, contact USAttorneys.com today.