A Florida law firm known for successfully suing nursing homes on behalf of residents and their families is pointing to issues at a Richland Township facility.

In an advertisement in the weekend edition of The Tribune-Democrat, Wilkes & McHugh Attorneys at Law list several deficiencies noted during the most recent inspections for Richland Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center,

349 Vo-Tech Drive.

The ad asks those with “stories” from the Richland nursing home to contact the law firm’s Pittsburgh office.

On its website, the firm says, “Attorneys with Wilkes & McHugh have been recognized across the nation as ‘pioneers’ in nursing home abuse and neglect litigation. We were one of the first law firms to help families hold nursing homes accountable when they engaged in abuse of their residents.”

Wilkes and McHugh did not respond to email and phone messages left this week.

Medicare’s nursing home comparison website includes links to reports that show Richland Healthcare received 15 citations over two inspections last year.

Only one of the deficiencies resulted in what inspectors say was “actual harm.” In that incident, a resident’s ankle was broken when she fell in her room.

Investigators determined an employee was attempting to move the woman from her bed to a wheelchair, even though the woman’s care plan showed that it required two staff members to transfer her safely.

Richland Healthcare is owned by Guardian Eldercare of Brockway, Jefferson County. At the request of Guardian communications staffer Andy Benson, The Tribune-Democrat on Thursday afternoon emailed questions about each of the deficiencies. An emailed response Friday did not address the 2019 inspections, but described Richland Healthcare's current COVID-19 response.

It reads, in part, "The safety of our residents and our caregivers is, and always has been, our top priority. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are following all (government) guidance for health care facilities. 

"These measures include isolating residents with a confirmed or suspected case in their individual rooms with their own individual bathrooms and restricting all other residents in their rooms to minimize chances for additional exposure.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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