In the recent three-judge panel decision in Scampone v. Grane Healthcare Co., the PA Superior Court held that nursing homes can be held corporately liable for their actions, similar to hospitals, HMOs and medical professional corporations, since they provide comprehensive and continual physical care for their patients. Prior to this decision, nursing homes could only be found vicariously liable for the negligence of their staff. But this decision strengthens the ability of nursing home residents to hold the corporations that own or manage the nursing homes directly responsible for the harms caused to them by substandard, or non-existent, care. In this particular case, the court determined that Grane Healthcare Co. controlled the budget and staffing levels at Highland Park Care Center to such an extent that they are directly liable to the family of the deceased resident, since the nursing home was chronically understaffed. The court also determined that the nursing consultants from Grane Healthcare Co. acted so recklessly that their actions, along with the nursing home and the management company itself, warranted punitive damages.
This particular case confirms what we already know and continue to hear in many of the calls that come into our office, that is understaffing is the root cause of many of the bad outcomes in nursing homes and similar facilities. These bad outcomes include falls, pressure ulcers, dehydration, malnutrition and medicine errors. If you suspect a loved one in a nursing home is not receiving adequate treatment, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates. We’ll provide a free review of your case.