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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.

Ways to Lighten the Financial Load For Elderly Relatives

A recent article by Caring.com spoke about ways to keep loved ones out of nursing homes. Many families who would like to receive help for their relatives are financially strained and cannot afford a nursing home.  For these families, the care of a loved one can cause undue stress and tension.  Caring.com addressed this issue by offering many tips on creative financial ways to help take care of elderly relatives or friends. According to the article, some of the tips include:

  • Moving in with someone else who can take care of your relative
  • Split caregiving between family and a paid neighbor
  • Moving to an area with a cheaper cost-of-living to be able to hire a caregiver
  • Consider utilizing adult daycare or companion care
  • Use community resources that provide in-home care, such as responsible students or church groups
  • Look into potential programs that your relative might be eligible for, such as various Veteran's Affairs benefits
  • Research assisted living facilities as well
  • Look into Medicaid or PACE benefits


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.  Attorney Stoehr takes cases in Blair and the seven surrounding counties.

Nursing Home Residents Have Trouble In Hospitals

It is not uncommon for elderly nursing home residents to be in poor health or in need of medical assistance. In some of these situations, an emergency room visit may be essential for that patient.  However, an emergency room visit may also lead to infection in the nursing home later on.

An article published by University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine recently explored this phenomenon.  According to the article, an ER visit may lead to 3x risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections for nursing home residents.  Within the nursing home setting, the rate acute respiratory or GI infections was at 5% within a week of an emergency department visit as opposed to 2% when not the resident did not leave the long-term care facility.  After accounting for other variables, residents at such homes were actually 3.9x more likely to acquire an infection following a trip to the emergency department.  One researcher is also quoted as saying, "If they acquire an infection while in the emergency department, these residents may be the source of an outbreak upon return to their facility".


All in all, hospital visits from a nursing home lead to high-risk periods for all of the nursing home residents once the sick person returns.  New nursing home residents transferred from hospitals may pose an even higher risk for an outbreak of illness within the facility. 

Applying this knowledge, if someone you know has been recently admitted into a nursing home from a hospital, has recently been to the hospital, or has friends in the nursing home that have just returned from the hospital, it will be crucial to monitor those people 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 with the nursing home employees.  


Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice and to consult him about your potential medical claim, pleaes call his office at 814-946-4100. 

Mifflin County Nursing Home Is Being Sued

In Mifflin County, a personal care home is currently the subject of a civil lawsuit.  According to the news report, the Meadowview Manor home failed to keep the facility up to safe living standards, as well engaging in some financially questionable practices. The home, which housed more than 30 residents, is under fire for failing to provide adequate heat for its residents in the cold, maintain a working sewer and electrical system,  keep smoke detectors running, and generally provide safe and sanitary conditions.  To learn more, please click the link at the bottom of this post.  



Douglas V. Stoehr practices personal injury law in Duncansville and Altoona, Pennsylvania. He serves clients throughout western and central Pennsylvania, including Duncansville, Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Huntingdon, State College, Johnstown, Clearfield, Tyrone, Ebensburg, Northern Cambria, Portage, Windber, Carrolltown, Gallitzin, Saxton, Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Pine Grove Mills, Warriors Mark, Spruce Creek, Roaring Spring, Bellwood, Claysburg, Blue Knob, Lewistown, Mount Union, Belleville, McConnellsburg, Breezewood, Williamsburg, Windber, Punxsutawney Martinsburg, Somerset, Philipsburg, Everett, Williamsport, Cumberland, Oakland, Indiana, St. Mary's, Blair County, Cambria County, Huntingdon County, Clearfield County, Mifflin County, Jefferson County, Huntington County, Centre County, Bedford County, Somerset County and Fulton County.


Original article may be found here:
http://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/former-personal-care-home-faces-charges

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.  

Auditors Reveal Nursing Home Complaints in PA

Sometimes, audits bring up things you would never believe.  According to TribLive.com, an auditor for the Pennsylvania Department of Health discovered that the department refused to accept anonymous complaints against nursing homes for almost three years.  Halting these complaints violates federal policy, and also potentially puts many elderly residents into harm's way.   There was no rationale discovered for halting these reports. According to the TribLive article, "Complaints increased 63 percent after the agency rescinded the policy of not accepting anonymous complaints, the audit said."  Many other interesting facts were discovered in the audit, including not enforcing certain laws requiring a set number of direct nursing services for residents each day. 


Elder abuse complaints 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 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.  

Douglas V. Stoehr practices personal injury law in Duncansville and Altoona, Pennsylvania. He serves clients throughout western and central Pennsylvania, including Duncansville, Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Huntingdon, State College, Johnstown, Clearfield, Tyrone, Ebensburg, Northern Cambria, Portage, Windber, Carrolltown, Gallitzin, Saxton, Bellefonte, Centre Hall, Pine Grove Mills, Warriors Mark, Spruce Creek, Roaring Spring, Bellwood, Claysburg, Blue Knob, Lewistown, Mount Union, Belleville, McConnellsburg, Breezewood, Williamsburg, Windber, Punxsutawney Martinsburg, Somerset, Philipsburg, Everett, Williamsport, Cumberland, Oakland, Indiana, St. Mary's, Blair County, Cambria County, Huntingdon County, Clearfield County, Mifflin County, Jefferson County, Huntington County, Centre County, Bedford County, Somerset County and Fulton County.

To read the original article and to learn more about the audit in its entirety, please click here:
http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/10850267-74/depasquale-complaints-agency

Elderly Becoming Victims of Social Media Misuse

Believe it or not, social media harassment is becoming a significant problem for elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. According to a local report from ProPublica (in partnership with NPR) there has been a significant amount of Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram photos and videos posted by nursing home employees in recent years.  These photos and videos highlight residents in compromising positions, such as being naked and/or abused, covered in excrement, or deceased.  As a result, federal health officials have stated that they plan to crack down on these employees.  One such measure they recommend is having a clear policy for all workers that prohibit staff from taking potentially demeaning pictures of their residents.  Additionally, they are urging state officials to quickly investigate claims, report offenders, and recommend disciplinary action.   


In this day and age, you have to be extremely careful what you post on the internet. If there is a question as to whether it is inappropriate, illegal, and/or could potentially harm another person (mentally, physically, or emotionally) it is in your best interest NOT to post.  In terms of these particular cases in which nursing home employees were taking advantage of their elderly clients, it is obvious that what they are doing is inappropriate, wrong, and demeaning towards the other people in their care.  There is also the question if what they are doing is illegal and could be considered a form of elder abuse.  


 If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, please contact us.  These claims are complicated and challenging, and you need a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to evaluate your claim.  We have seen the pain caused by nursing home neglect and abuse, and are prepared to answer your questions.  So if you or a family member is suffering from a recent fall contact Attorney Douglas V. Stoehr  at (814) 946-4100, or go to our website at www.stoehrlaw.com. 

To read more about these incidents of inappropriate use of social media regarding nursing home/assisted living residents and employees, please click here:


https://www.propublica.org/article/health-officials-stop-social-media-abuse-of-nursing-home-residents

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