The HCR ManorCare nursing home in Pottsville, PA was investigated by state inspectors in 2017. What they found was not the environment of a caring, healthy, and well-run nursing home. Instead, the residents who lived there were severely neglected.
Neglect included failure to maintain resident hygiene, as shown by a disabled man who had long, dirty fingernails. The nursing home didn’t have enough staff to properly respond to the call buttons from the residents’ bedsides. It was common for residents to regularly soil themselves because it took too long for staff to get there to help them go to the bathroom.
There was one instance where a woman, who was dying of uterine cancer, was bruised because she was left on a bedpan for too long. A man was given too many opioids and had to go to the hospital. An unsupervised bus trip with one staff member in charge of six residents who needed aid with walking resulted in a resident flipping backward on a wheelchair ramp and had a brain hemorrhage.
The horrors don’t stop there. A nurse’s aide was attempting to lift a paraplegic woman when they should have had help. The resident was dropped and fractured her hip. A woman whose mother was a resident would call and cry nearly every day. Roaches and ants were also infesting the residence.
ManorCare filed for bankruptcy in March. According to the Washington Post, ManorCare’s 25,000 residents faced increased health risks during the five years before the bankruptcy.
Between 2013 and 2017, health-code violations increased by 26 percent each year for retirement homes. The nursing homes saw rises in violations from 1,584 to nearly 2,000.
The violations increased after ManorCare was acquired by the Carlyle Group. The group and investors made a financial deal in 2011 that gave investors $1.3 billion. With this deal, ManorCare’s real estate was mostly all sold and then they paid rent to new owners.
Under these new financial constraints, the residents in the homes suffered from negligence. While the owners and investors claim that quality was not cut even though finances were, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
One quality statistic consultant noted that the people making the financial decisions were all interested in banking and investments, but didn’t know anything about the business itself. ManorCare is facing lawsuits from families of residents who suffered because of their negligence.
People who worked at ManorCare spoke about how they were overwhelmed and couldn’t get to everyone in time. They were even told to say that they’re doing the best they can, and never say the word short-staffed. Management also would claim that they couldn’t afford more people to work there.
Nursing homes that are understaffed often pose a major health risk to the residents. Those who need assistance need to be able to get help promptly, and should have to risk injury because they’re forced to complete a task that they should have had help with.
During a time when central Pennsylvania’s nursing homes are heavy under scrutiny due to cases like this and others, it’s important for you to know that legal help may potentially be available to you and your family if neglect has directly caused a loved one to suffer. If your loved one has been wrongfully neglected and injured at their nursing home, get in touch with Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco today.