Many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in the U.S., including those in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania promise healthy and safe environments for their residents. Some of the missions and visions of these homes invoke true peace of mind and a guarantee that the residents are secure and well-valued by their employees and staff. ACTS Retirement-Life Communities based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also offers this kind of assurance for elders and their families.
However, the unexpected happened in 2012 when one resident was found dead in her room at Park Pointe Village, a long-term care facility that Pennsylvania-based ACTS purchased in 2005. The investigation found that an employee at the facility was responsible for the 82-year-old woman’s death. According to a report, the alleged incident happened when the victim learned that an employee stole several checks from her. This individual allegedly committed the crime after a co-worker informed her about a pending criminal accusation.
Due to the given circumstances, the victim’s family decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the assisted-living facility, and two employees of Park Pointe Village. The lawsuit alleged that the facility failed to take proper measures to protect the victim from possible criminal acts. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the facility failed to provide adequate security because the suspect successfully accessed the community on November 12, 2011 by using an electronic key card.
The wrongful death case filed against the assisted-living facility accused it of staff failures and elder abuse. The lawsuit filed by the victim’s family was reportedly settled for $1.5 million. The settlement will go toward the victim’s daughter and to cover attorney fees.
This nursing home-related case emphasizes the home’s possible liability if they fail to protect their residents from criminal behavior or the improper actions of their employees. Nursing home facilities in Pennsylvania must be mindful of the criminal background of their staff to prevent elder abuse and to prevent such tragedies in nursing homes.
Source: Herald Online, “$1.5M settlement in death of Rock Hill assisted-living resident,” Jie Jenny Zou, June 3, 2014