Nursing home residents are some of our most vulnerable citizens. Due to the risk of elder neglect and abuse, there are strict nursing home regulations in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is responsible for enforcing these regulations.

The DOH licenses and inspects nursing homes and takes enforcement actions against facilities that fail to give the proper services or care for a resident.

Surveys and inspections

 According to the DOH, it conducts annual inspections of nursing homes. The surveys become more frequent for facilities that have a history of serious issues. The survey team conducts various practices during these inspections, including but not limited to those on the following list:

  • Observe how staff members interact with and provide care to residents.
  • Conduct interviews with residents and family members about the care they receive.
  • Tour the facility to ensure the environment is safe and comfortable.
  • Observe how nurses provide treatment and medications.
  • Conduct group interviews with residents to identify shared concerns or issues.
  • Meet with administrators and staff members to review their plans to resolve concerns or issues.

Overall, the goal of these inspections is to evaluate whether the nursing home provides sufficient care to residents and that residents feel “at home.”

Enforcement actions

 The DOH immediately issues a report of any deficiencies to non-compliant nursing homes. If the deficiencies are severe, the state or federal government may take various actions, including but not limited to issuing a fine, implementing a ban on admissions, terminating Medicaid or Medicare participation, revoking the facility’s license or requiring training programs.

Every survey result is available on the DOH’s website and at each nursing home statewide.