Willow Crest Manor Shut Down by Department of Public Works

Residents of Philadelphia and Willow Grove were appalled to find out that their local nursing homes, Willow Crest Manor, was being shut down by the Department of Public Works.  The DPW was quick to pull the plug on the home after investigations in to two suspicious deaths uncovered gross negligence and massive rule violations. 

The list of egregious violations included the administration of recalled drugs after the date of the recall, the distribution of medicine to its customers by unlicensed and under trained employees, and the use of prescription drugs without a doctor’s orders.  The DPW found that medicines given to residents weren’t being recorded, often resulting in patients receiving over or under doses of their life saving medication.  One resident said that after he told the staff he needed insulin, they did not provide it to him, forcing him to inject it himself while unsupervised.

The deaths of a 49-year old woman and a 24-year-old man with cerebral palsy found dead in his bed have resulted from similar violations.  It was obvious that residents at Willow Crest were in immediate and serious danger. The DPW ordered that all 51 residents, about half of who are elderly and most of whom suffer from mental illness, be evacuated and relocated at once.

Willow Crest Manor was among many major homes in the Philadelphia metropolitan area under scrutiny by the DPW.  There seems to be a common link between them all however: Owner Annand P Mittal.  The DPW has been finding serious state violations at his other agencies—including Southampton Manor in Bucks County, and Diston Manor and Adelphia in Philadelphia—that have caused them to ban his operating licenses.

Evidence from around the state and the rest of the country has highlighted that this is not an isolated problem.  Many privately owned for-profit nursing homes have been subject to criticism due to excessive negligence and rule violations.  Thankfully the Department of Public Works has done the right thing, however they certainly wont be able to remedy the damages already dealt by Willow Crest and other facilities like it.   If you know someone who has been a victim of the Willow Crest Manor or any other Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing homes, please contact the Law Firm of John Mininno. There are legal remedies to help your family.

Related Information:

New Jersey Home Abuse Lawyers

New Jersey Bedsores Attorneys

A father’s day gift: support the “fairness in nursing home arbitration act”

Imagine the scene.  You are sitting with your elderly dad in a nursing home’s admission office. On the floor are suitcases packed with his clothes, personal belongings, family photos and memories. You watch as the admission officer hands over a package containing hundreds of forms that need to be signed.  His hands shake as he begins to sign the forms.  Moments later, he is taken to his new “home” where, you know, he will live out the rest of his life.

While it is undoubtedly painful, putting Mom or Dad into a nursing home is sometimes necessary when they require around the clock care. In general, a nursing home’s admission office is frequently the scene of tears and anguish from grown children overwhelmed by the guilt of abandoning a parent to the home.

However, according to recent reports, insurance carriers and corporate nursing homes are seeking to capitalize on this vulnerability by sneaking a contract clause into the preadmission forms that take away rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Constitution of 48 states. This includes Mom or Dad’s right to a jury trial, the right to attorney’s fees and, the right to the full measure compensatory damage and/or punitive damages in the event of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Nursing homes present these clauses as a “take or leave it” deal. There is no mutuality.  Mom or Dad is not permitted an opportunity to negotiate the terms and no lawyer is present to advise them. They are kept in the dark regarding the problems that persist in the nursing home industry and, protecting their legal right is the last thing on their mind as they sit in the admission office with their suitcases and belongings.  If Mom or Dad refuses to sign, they are turned away from the door of the nursing home, despite their need for round the clock care.

At this point, you may be wondering why insurance companies and big corporate nursing homes try to slip these clauses into every contract?  For starters, they recognize the vulnerability of Mom or Dad during the admissions process.  Also, by taking away Mom or Dad’s right to gain access to the courts, corporations no longer have to worry about their wrongdoing being exposed. Access to the courts is our most effective means of holding companies accountable for their actions. Forcing Mom or Dad to waive their rights to sue is just another way corporations place themselves above the laws that are created and intended to protect us.

In our civil justice system, wrongdoers are supposed to be held accountable for the harm they cause.  Innocent victims are also entitled to be compensated for the full measure of their loss. That is why this Father’s day, we should commit to support the “Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008,” which is presently pending before Congress.  This measure is supported by the AARP and has received additional bipartisan support from elder care and human rights foundations across the country.

As a gift this father’s day, I encourage you to write a letter to your local Congressman and state Senator regarding this bill (HR 6126 and S. 2838).  In the letter, please urge Congress to act swiftly to outlaw pre-dispute, binding mandatory agreements in nursing home settings.  With your help, senior citizens around the country will be given back their right to hold bad nursing homes accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused.  In my opinion, there is no better way to say thank you to our fathers than by ensuring that they will be treated with dignity and respect in the final stages of life.

Related Information:

New Jersey Lawyers – Nursing Home Abuse

What To Look For In A Nursing Home

The thought of placing a family member in a nursing home can be overwhelming.  With reports of abuse and neglect constantly surfacing all over the country, selecting a nursing home is often the last resort for many families.  Unfortunately, the time does come when even the most devoted families are unable to provide the necessary medical care that their loved one needs.

When faced with such a tough decision , it is essential that family members educate themselves on how to distinguish a good nursing home from the bad.  Carole Herman from the Foundation Aiding The Elderly (FATE) has compiled the following tips as a free resource to guide families in selecting a nursing home.  Her website offers a wealth of free information for those dedicated to protecting the elderly.

When looking for a nursing home, Carole suggests the following:

The following are some tips on what to look for in a nursing home to help prevent bad care and abuse of your loved one.

Do not be intimidated by threats from the facility such as kicking the patient out of the facility because of complaints or the facility’s refusal to cooperate with requests for information.

Get a durable power of attorney for medical care so that you can make health care decisions and review medical records.

Request a complete facility profile from the State Health Department, Licensing and Certification Department for the facility you intend to use. Note the number of complaints, the fines assessed and whether the fines have been paid.

Notice how many people in the facility seem to be in stupors or in bed or unable to walk or talk. If many patients fall into this category, be wary of overmedication at the facility, especially with the psychotropic drugs Haldol, Thorazine, Mellaril and Prolixin.

Visit at different times during the day, including meal times. Take notice of the types of food and nutritional balance. Dehydration is a problem, so make sure water is available at all times and that it is easily accessible to the patient.

Be sure the patient is actually seen by the doctor and talk with the doctor personally. If the doctor is difficult to contact, bring in another doctor to examine the patient.

Make sure all recommended care is given, such as physical therapy. Stop by when such activities are scheduled.

Take seriously any complaints the patient has about mistreatment by the staff, such as “they pull my hair”, “they are mean to me”. Don’t accept the facilities statement that the patient is old and doesn’t know what’s going on.

Check the patient’s body for bedsores or pressure sores, particularly the tailbone, feet and hips. Stage 4, the most serious stage of bedsores, causes death in many cases.

Take an interest in other patients. Talk with their relatives about problems and the care being given.

Report any signs of bad care to the state licensing office in your state that licenses and regulates nursing homes. Be sure to follow up on the complaint to insure accountability.

As you can see, the common denominator among her suggestions is involvement.  I can not stress enough how simple involvement will help you discern nursing home abuse before the situation gets out of hand.

Alternatively, if you have read the above suggestions and now believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, it is not too late to act.  Ask questions, demand answers and immediately get involved in their treatment.  If this does not solve the problem, move your relative to a different facility and contact an attorney immediately to discuss the situation. You can find more information on filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit in New Jersey or Pennsylvania here or call (856) 833-0600 in NJ or (215) 567-2380 in PA.