Early on in the pandemic, it became apparent that nursing homes were the frontline of our national battle against the coronavirus. And as COVID-19 has continued to injure and kill our most vulnerable citizens, nursing homes have continued to bear a disproportionate brunt of harm. They continue to be home to nearly 40 percent of COVID deaths nationwide.
What makes this situation more tragic is that some of these deaths were avoidable. There has been a correlation between nursing home care standards and the damage that the virus has wrought on over 136,000 nursing home patients and staff.
In May 2020, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro made the state’s zero-tolerance policy toward elder abuse explicit, saying that his office would aggressively prosecute cases of nursing home negligence in the COVID era. Still, cases of avoidable outbreaks have stayed rampant.
Pennsylvania’s Stance on Nursing Home Neglect
When AG Shapiro opened the state’s criminal investigation into nursing home neglect, nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 deaths occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
This is remarkable, as those living in long-term facilities only comprise 0.6 percent of the U.S. population.
“Protecting seniors and our most vulnerable in the care of others, is one of the core responsibilities of my office and we’re stepping up to protect older Pennsylvanians during this crisis,” AG Shapiro said. “We will hold nursing facilities and caretakers criminally accountable if they fail to properly provide care to our loved ones.”
The Attorney General’s office has concentrated on nursing homes that suffered from deadly COVID-19 outbreaks, including Milton Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, Messiah Lifeways and Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.
List of Pennsylvania Nursing Homes Under Investigation
In their December 2020 report, Pennsylvania Department of Health nursing home surveyors conducted 624 inspections in 400 nursing homes. 394 of these investigations targeted specific complaints. 249 were COVID-19-related investigations.
The list of investigated facilities included:
In Philadelphia County:
- Chapel Manor
- Laurel Square Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
- St. John Neumann Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare
- Oakwood Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center
- Cheltenham Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Caring Heart Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
- Centennial Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
In Montgomery County:
- Abramson Residence
- Chestnut Hill Lodge Health and Rehabilitation Center
- Dock Terrace
- Dresher Hill Health & Rehabilitation Center
- Edgehill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
- Hopkins Center
- Gwynedd Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
- Parkhouse Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
- Pennsburg Manor
- Saunders House
- Willowbrooke Court at Spring House Estates
In Chester County:
- Barclay Friends
- Brandywine Hall
- Aventura at Pembrooke
In Bucks County:
- Neshaminy Manor Home
- Phoebe Richland Health Care Center
- Belle Haven Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center
- Crestview Center
- Richboro Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
In Delaware County:
- Aventura at Prospect
- Fair Acres Geriatric Center
- Providence Rehab and Healthcare Center at Mercy Fitzgerald
- The Quadrangle
- Rosewood Gardens Rehab and Nursing Center
- St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare
How Nursing Home Neglect Contributes to the Pandemic
The worst nursing homes make their profit by rationing care. Such cost-saving measures can have devastating effects when dealing with COVID-19.
Understaffing is one chronic issue of negligence shared by many of the worst nursing facilities. And this has only gotten worse as COVID’s second wave has swept the country.
AARP’S Public Policy Institute found an uptick in staffing shortages nationwide, from 27.6 percent to 29.8 percent between October 18 and December 20, 2020. This coincided with a near quadrupling of COVID-19 cases among staff and a decrease in the availability of PPE.
Our country is undergoing a severe test during this pandemic. But our nation’s most vulnerable shouldn’t be subjected to the risks of nursing home neglect in addition to COVID-19.
When to Consult with an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Elder abuse and neglect are always avoidable. But in the coronavirus era, they can have even more disastrous consequences. And even injuries that seem unavoidable may come down to issues within the facility’s control, such as appropriate staffing and regular monitoring.
The best course of action if you feel that nursing home abuse or neglect has harmed you or a loved one is to consult with skilled attorneys like those at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt as soon as possible. With 30 years of experience in nursing home injury cases, our lawyers are well suited to evaluate the situation and help determine if abuse or neglect played a part.