In most cases, the care we take in finding a nursing home for our elderly loved ones is unrivaled. It is one of the most important decisions we’ll make, should the need ever arise, as we hand off the care of those who once cared for us.
The truth of the matter, however, is that nursing home standards vary widely. The standard of care present at one facility may be nowhere near the standards and practices followed by a facility that could be as close as the next town over.
These are the nightmare scenarios; the times when we’re mislead into thinking that a facility presents a certain level of quality and care when the truth couldn’t be any more opposite.
But then there are the worst of the worst – the nursing homes that are failing so spectacularly in their role of caring for our parents and grandparents that they warrant federal attention. And that is exactly what has happened to Harrison Senior Living of Christiana. The Lancaster County nursing home is one of 86 across the nation which the federal government has singled out as among the worst in the country and in need of government intervention.
Designated as a “Special Focus Facility” by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the title is reserved for nursing home and elder care cases that have demonstrated continuous failures to keep their residents healthy and safe.
The record of those failures for Harrison Senior Living is stunning.
The $13,390 it paid in 2014 in fines for violations pales in comparison to the $136,712 it paid the previous year. Residents have reportedly been hospitalized as a result of injuries suffered at the facility. Household fans were used to remedy the smell of a possible gas leak with no attention paid to the leak itself. The same leak eventually led to an evacuation order by the fire department only no actual evacuation plan existed for the facility at the time.
This is just the start of a systemic list of failures that is sad at best and absolutely infuriating at worst. Lives were placed in jeopardy on a routine basis due to failed business practices, lack of administrative oversight, and understaffing.
It’s said that a society can be judged by the care it takes of its elderly. One can only hope that Lancaster County isn’t judged by the level of care exhibited by Harrison Senior Living of Christiana. Based on the provisions of the Special Focus Facility program, Harrison will have around 18 to 22 months to show signs of improvement before Medicare will stop reimbursing it for care; a step which will almost guarantee its closing.
Time will tell if the residents of Harrison will be better off – or worse – should that happen.