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PA Doles Out Big Fines To Nursing Homes

In late 2016, The Pennsylvania Department of Health began changing the way they oversee nursing homes.  Since that time, records from around the state have reflected that the department has given out fines totaling almost $775,000 so far this year, to nursing homes that are not performing the way that they should be.  Many of these fines have resulted from situations which led to the actual harm and/or potential harm to residents. Some people say that fines are increasing due, in part, to fact that the department has resumed taking anonymous tips.  These tips have led to more frequent nursing home visits in which homes were found in violation of policies.    
Many allegations against nursing homes and assisted living facilities stem from reports of elder abuse and neglect. Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Many common instances of elder abuse include emotional, financial, psychological, and neglect.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend. Call his office at 814-946-4100 to set up your consultation.  
Thanks to Lancaster Online for the background information for this article. 

Accredited Nursing Homes Have Higher Safety Culture

This may be an older post from our website, but is definitely worth another look!  As you may know, not all nursing homes are all created equal.  In addition to having private or government-run facilities, nursing homes can either be accredited or not.  Sometimes the differences between the different types of facilities are not immediately clear, but you should research all possible options before making a decision.

A recent study from NYU suggests that accredited nursing homes report a stronger resident safety culture than nonaccredited facilities.  The study, looking at over 4,000 facilities across the country, cited Joint Commission accreditation as increasing awareness of patient safety issues like staff training, teambuilding, positive and open communication, and correction of mistakes without punitive measures. Few studies have examined the effect of accreditation on safety measures in nursing homes.  Additionally, studies by the same researchers also found that Joint Commission accredited long-term care facilities had fewer survey deficiency citations than nonaccredited facilities

As stated earlier, not all nursing homes are created equal.  This also means that not all nursing homes provide the same level and quality of care.  With this in mind, you will need to research possible nursing home options extensively to avoid the possibility of negligence or abuse of a loved one, as well as under/inefficient staffing.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please call his Altoona, PA firm at 814-946-4100.

About 1 in 10 Seniors in US Are Abused

Information reported by a Georgia news source as referenced by the World Heath Organization, states that about 10% of America's elderly population is abused or neglected. Additionally, the researchers noted that this is likely an underestimation.  Elderly citizens are being abused both in home care situations and while being cared for in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  

It is important to look for common signs of physical abuse, such as bruises and unusual/strained interactions between the caregiver and patient. It is also important to check in with the elderly patient without the caregiver around and ask questions about how the relationship is going from their perspective. Also remember that financial and emotional abuse are common forms of elder abuse as well. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. He takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit  his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties. 

Banks Are Training Employees To Spot Elder Abuse

Banks across the country are training their employees on red flags in bank account activity that would suggest exploitation of an elderly person's finances.  Some of the red flags include a change in the method of bank activity and a new signature on cards and deposit slips. Sometimes, this training is implemented as a part of Elder Abuse Awareness Month.  We hope that all banks in our state will follow suit and provide training for its employees to protect against financial elder abuse!


Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Other, equally as damaging forms, of elder abuse can occur in settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.  Mental and psychological abuse, as well as financial and sexual abuse occur all too often to the elderly population.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr at his Altoona, PA law firm to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend. To contact his office, please call 814-946-4100. 

Take a Deeper Look Into Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are a pretty ubiquitous feature of most cities and populated areas.  Although many people know generally what nursing homes are like and what features they have, some do not know the many varieties within these facilities.  All nursing homes are not created equal and there is a wide variance in layout, amenities, features, and programs.

AARP, through a blog series, took a look at the varieties of living options for seniors.  Through looking at different types of nursing homes in particular, they discovered that almost all facilities have these 7 things in common:

  • on-site physical therapy and rehabilitation services
  • activity programming
  • transportation to medical appointments
  • all meals and snacks
  • medical care (i.e. IV therapy, wound care, end-of-life care)
  • medication management and administration
  • personal care (dressing, bathing, transferring, toileting)

If you are interested in learning more about the different options of elder and end-of-life care, the AARP website and blog may be a good source of information for you.  They have articles covering all types of living options for elderly people, as well as information about MediCare and MediCaid as it relates to those living options.

As stated earlier, not all nursing homes are created equal.  This also means that not all nursing homes provide the same level and quality of care.  With this in mind, you will need to research possible nursing home options extensively to avoid the possibility of negligence or abuse of a loved one, as well as under/inefficient staffing.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please call our office at 814-946-4100.

You Could Be Responsible For Your Parent's Unpaid Nursing Home Bills

Did you know that you could potentially be responsible for your parent's unpaid nursing home and assisted living bills? This may be a scary thought, but in many states with filial support laws, many families are faced with this problem. 

 According to a recent Forbes.com article, filial support laws were originally derived from 16th century New England's "poor laws" and, at one time, 90% of the states had such laws.  Now 29 states still have filial support laws on the books, including Pennsylvania.  Although throughout time many of these laws were not exercised, they are being enforced at a higher rate more recently.  Many people that this is due to the rising and extended cost of healthcare for the elderly. In one recent Pennsylvania case, a nursing home successfully received over $90,000 in payment from the son of a resident who was unable to pay for her care and fled the country.

One of the ways in which Pennsylvania assesses the ability to apply filial support laws is when the elderly parent has been abused or neglect by their care-providing institution, such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities. It also assesses whether the child of the non-paying parent has the financial resources and ability to pay the providing institution all or part of the bills.

In cases of elder abuse or neglect, it is very important to consult with a lawyer before making any decisions that may result in large legal and/or financial ramifications.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania who takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit  his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties. 

Want to know more? Check out the original Forbes.com story here.

Nursing Home High-Risk Times

When an elderly person is admitted to a nursing home, there are several periods of time that are higher-risk for injury than other periods.  This phenomenon has been studied and documented by numerous researchers.  One study by Doupe et. al. (2011) titled "Nursing Home Adverse Events: Further Insight to Highest Risk Periods" talked about some of these situations.  For example, some of the highest-risk periods including the following times and situations:

-New residents account for a disproportionately high percentage of nonhip fractures and bedsores
-Hospitalized falls, hip fractures, and respiratory infections are most common immediately before resident death
-Skin ulcers are most likely for new nursing home residents coming from a hospital; this is independent of mobility 

All in all, transition periods, either just being admitted to a nursing home or in the late stages of life immediately preceding death, are the high-risk periods for nursing home residents.  New nursing home residents transferred from hospitals pose an even higher risk for some conditions.  Applying this knowledge, if someone you know has been recently admitted into a nursing home, the first three months are critical to monitor for any changing conditions or health issues.  If you feel that your loved one needs more care than they are currently being given by the nursing home staff, you may need to discuss changes in your relative's individualized care plan.  


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer who takes caes for victims of nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please call his firm at 814-946-4100.

Tort Reform in Nursing Home Negligence Cases

In the past few years, there has been some backlash against personal injury attorneys and their lawsuits against nursing homes and hospitals.  One such article, written in a large healthcare magazine, even went so far as to suggest that some attorneys use understaffing of workers as an excuse to create lawsuits for cases that would not otherwise be valid.  These same writers are arguing for tort reform, which would also put a cap on awards for injury or negligence.  They argue that, if there was a cap on awards in the state of Pennsylvania, there would be fewer legal claims and nursing homes may be able to use more workers. They also noted that arbitration decreases the projected expense and awards of cases.


These facts are not completely accurate.  Arbitration does NOT decrease the expense and value of claims in all cases; in fact, they may increase the awards from claims in some cases.  Additionally, nursing home cases are not as "easy to prove" as these proponents of tort reform would make you believe.  Nursing home cases can be difficult to prove, as well as time-consuming. Therefore, the implications that most nursing home negligence cases are easy to prove and will most likely result in large awards are inaccurate.


Understaffing is also a significant and problematic issue in many large nursing homes, and that should not be belittled or explained away.  When nursing homes are seriously understaffed, the residents may seriously suffer or injure themselves as a result. In our law office, we have seen understaffing result in very serious injury, such as untreated bed sores and slip-and-falls that result in significant and lasting problems.  Articles such as the one described above are written with a definite slant, so be a critical and thoughtful reader when browsing articles.


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer practicing in the western and central Pennsylvania region.  For more information on his firm, please call his office at 814-946-4100.

Nursing Home Wrongful Death Suit in PA

Recently, a Philadelphia-area nursing home is under fire for supposedly contributing to a wrongful death case.  The death, which is thought to be due negligence on the part of the nursing home staff, came after a series of illnesses which affected an elderly woman in the home's case. The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the resident needed 24 hour care, due to a history of trouble walking, dementia, and other issues.  However, she was still was often found on her floor in her bedroom of the nursing home unattended, and it was clear that she had fallen.  Eventually, the resident had a fall that was so severe that she had to go to the emergency room.  Upon returning to the nursing home, she was placed in hospice care and passed away about two months after her accident.  


Many allegations against nursing homes and assisted living facilities stem from reports of elder abuse and neglect. Elder abuse can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Many common instances of elder abuse include emotional, financial, psychological, and neglect.  If you feel that a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, please contact Attorney Doug Stoehr to set up a free consultation.  Attorney Stoehr has experience and knowledge pertaining to elder abuse legal claims, and will work hard to fight for the rights of your family or friend. Call his office at 814-946-4100 to set up your consultation.  


Read more about the case here:
http://pennrecord.com/stories/511079533-yeadon-nursing-home-hit-with-wrongful-death-lawsuit

CARIE Works For The Rights Of The Elderly

This post is a version of a story we originally brought to your attention several years ago, but is, unfortunately, still very relevant today.  Please read this article to learn more about advocating for the rights of our state's senior population!

Interested in advocating for the rights of the elderly?  Are you or an elderly loved one currently undergoing some type of neglect or physical, financial, emotional, or sexual abuse? You might want to consider visiting the following website for valuable resources on educating and protecting yourself from elder abuse.  The Center For Advocacy Of The Rights And Interests Of The Elderly, known as CARIE, has set up a detailed resource page for education on many forms of elder abuse.  Please visit their website for more valuable information. 

Pennsylvania has also stepped up to protect its state's aging population.  The state has set up a statewide elder abuse hotline, which can be accessed by calling this number: 1-800-490-8505.  The hotline is open 24 hours a day and can be used a tipline to report activity related to abuse, neglect, exploitation, identity theft, or abandonment of an elderly PA resident.  Pennsylvania also has local Area Agencies on Aging that can assist in these situations. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania.  He takes cases for older Pennsylvanians who have been abused or neglected.  For more information on his Altoona, PA area practice, please call his office at 814-946-4100 or visit his website at http://www.stoehrlaw.com.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

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