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Pleasant Acres settles wrongful-death lawsuit for $95K

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

The for-profit company that owns Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the estate of an elderly resident who died there after falling in a corridor.

Nancy L. Young was 89 years old and died Dec. 15, 2018, of complications from injuries caused by a fall during a Dec. 8 encounter at the formerly county-owned nursing home in Springettsbury Township, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Premier Healthcare bought Pleasant Acres from York County in July 2018 for $33.5 million.

Young, who suffered from dementia, fell after she tried to wander into another resident's room and that resident slammed her door shut, the coroner's office has said.

Coroner Pam Gay has ruled that Young died of blunt-force injuries complicated by chronic medical issues, including cardiovascular disease.

Young suffered a broken thigh, broken wrist and other injuries during the fall, according to  Gay.

On Jan. 6, Young's estate filed a motion in York County Court asking that a proposed settlement of $95,000 be approved. The settlement was approved the next day, court records state.

No admission of wrongdoing: Young's estate in 2019 filed the civil lawsuit claiming that Pleasant Acres didn't properly supervise Young or provide her with devices she needed to be ambulatory, according to the settlement proposal.

Pleasant Acres admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, court records state.

Lisa Sofia, the CEO of Premier Healthcare, has disputed the estate's allegations.

"I can assure you that Pleasant Acres continues to provide quality care and services to its residents," she has said.

Regarding claims of staffing shortages, Sofia has said, "Every concern that is brought to our attention, just like it was with the county, is being addressed."

Pleasant Acres Nursing Home is shown in York, Pa. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

The background: When the corporation that owns the facility took it over Oct. 3, 2018, employees told the new management there weren't enough staff members to properly care for the residents, according to the lawsuit.

Pleasant Acres knew Young had a history of dementia and falling, and it knew she could be seriously hurt if she fell, the lawsuit had alleged.

Before Young suffered the fall that led to her death, the state Department of Health had already put Pleasant Acres on notice about the staffing issue, according to the lawsuit.

Young fell a number of times after coming to Pleasant Acres in February 2018, including three times in her first month there, and notes were made in her file that staff should have her use her walker and wear shoes, the lawsuit stated. Young's file also noted she should be checked on visually during every shift.

But during November 2018, staff failed to check on Young during 11 shifts, the suit states, and in the first week of December, there were no visual checks of Young done in two out of seven days of the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift, according to the lawsuit.

More:Pleasant Acres sued by estate of woman who died after fall there

Nancy Young

No shoes, no walker: The lawsuit claims staff didn't ensure Young used her walker or wore shoes as she walked around the nursing home.

She needed a special shoe for one foot, which was partially amputated.

When Young was found lying on the floor of West Hall, she was wearing only slipper-socks and didn't have her walker, according to the suit.

No one witnessed Young's fall, authorities have said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.