Long term care facilities like nursing homes are usually for-profit business entities. In fact, in Philadelphia, nearly half of all licensed nursing homes are for-profit entities. Out of 47 licensed nursing homes in Philadelphia, 22 are for-profit entities, 23 are non-profit entities, and there is 1 county facility and 1 state facility. *Data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, as of July 2014.
For-profit entities exist to turn a profit, and this means that sometimes, profits are placed above the health and well-being of residents. In addition, increasingly, nursing aides bear the brunt of the work and are often overworked and burned out. This explains why neglect, abuse and accidents like fall accidents are very common.
Residents of long term care facilities include the elderly, mentally handicapped and disabled. These citizens are vulnerable. Therefore, they deserve our protection and deserve to be treated with respect and decency. The sad reality is that oftentimes, just the opposite happens.
Residents of nursing homes are often subjected to neglect, assault and abuse, and elderly residents are often injured in preventable accidents, such as a fall from a bed or fall from a wheelchair.
In order to ensure proper care for our most vulnerable citizens, we must speak up when we see and hear about abuse, neglect, etc. This applies to employees of care facilities, residents themselves and their families.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) handles and investigates complaints against long term care facilities in Pennsylvania, this includes nursing homes, residential homes for the disabled, etc. Call 1-800-254-5164.
The complaint process involves the following steps:
- Contact the nursing home administrator to try to resolve the issues. Document calls and conversations (i.e., dates, names of persons contacted, substance of conversations, etc.).
- If the issue is not resolved, begin the formal complaint process via the DOH. (*You will receive an acknowledgement that the complaint has been received within 2-4 days).
- The correct division will conduct an investigation and provide you with the findings.
- If a deficiency is identified, the facility will be required to submit a plan to correct it, implementation for which will be overseen by the DOH.
It is important to note that complaints may be filed confidentially. The facility will not be advised of the name or contact info of the person who filed the complaint and instead, will only be notified that a complaint was filed.
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