Aide intending to sue SNF hit with abuse charges

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A former aide at a Pennsylvania nursing home charged with abuse last week had begun filing a defamation suit against the facility and its parent company in March, according to her attorney.

Ashley Wilcox, 21, was accused by three other workers at Golden Hill Nursing and Rehab in New Castle, PA, of being physically rough and yelling at several residents with dementia during her 10-month tenure at the facility, according to local reports. The allegations include claims that Wilcox held her hands over residents noses and mouths on more than one occasion, and in one instance had to be pushed away from the resident by another staff member.

Wilcox was suspended from her job in March, and charged last Monday with four counts of stalking with intent to cause emotional distress and six counts each of simple assault and harassment.

Wilcox's lawyer, Angelo Papa, filed an intent to sue Golden Hill in March, along with its parent company, Quality Life Services, and Butler County Community College, where Wilcox is studying to become a registered nurse.

The lawsuit claims Golden Hill shared the allegations against Wilcox with the college, with the intention of preventing her from participating in clinicals and barring her from graduating on time. The allegations were made by coworkers Wilcox “does not get along with,” Papa told the New Castle News.

An official complaint has not yet been filed in Wilcox's suit. Steven Tack, chief executive officer of Quality Life Services, told the New Castle News that the company stands behind Golden Hill's decision to suspend Wilcox.

“We will absolutely defend the actions that are taken, vigorously,” Tack said. “I think the actions that were taken were correct.”

McKnight's request for comment from Golden Hill was not returned by press time Friday.

Wilcox was arraigned Friday and released on a $15,000 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing in her case will be held on May 19.