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Low Performing Nursing Homes Seldom Improve

Sometimes, nursing homes get reprimanded when their facilities are not up to standards and/or are endangering their patients. As a result, they can become put under "special focus status", which means they are strictly overseen and are placed under a high level of scrutiny.  Unfortunately, recent data suggests that after nursing home receive such violation notices, they do not often improve.   According to one news source, "While special focus status is one of the federal government's strictest forms of oversight, nursing homes that were forced to undergo such scrutiny often slide back into providing dangerous care, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of federal health inspection data."  Out of over 500 nursing homes that came out of special focus status before 2014 and are still in business, over half of them have since harmed patients or put them in serious danger. These violations have included giving patients incorrect medication, failing to intervene in cases of violence from other residents or staff members, and withholding information from families and physicians regarding injuries. These homes are found in almost all 50 states.  

Within the article, it is noted that "special focus facility status is reserved for the poorest-performing facilities out of more than 15,000 skilled nursing homes. The federal government assigns each state a set number of slots, roughly based on the number of nursing homes. Then state health regulators pick which nursing homes to include. More than 900 facilities have been placed on the watch list since 2005." 

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. 

High Turnover Rate For Nursing Home Attendants

The nursing home industry is one that is experiencing growth right now, since many aging Americans from the "baby boom" generation are beginning to retire and some decide to enter into nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  With the boom in patients, nursing home are either hiring more attendants or giving attendants longer work hours.  Unfortunately, nursing homes also have a high turnover rate for employees.

A recent article by USA Today talked at length about this phenomenon.  According to the newspaper article, staff shortages are common in nursing home facilities and turnover rates are high.  Between states, the annual turnover rate is between 60-100%, according to research from the Institute for the Future of Aging Services.This is due in large part to the low wages paid by many nursing homes.  Over 20 states have regulated the industry, resulting in minimum-wage protection, some staff members do still make less than $7.25 an hour.  Additionally, according to the article, "Since 2000, there has been a 23% increase in home health care employment, while salaries have remained the same, about $21,000 a year, according to a study conducted by Michael Hicks of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University".  Overall, low wages and little to no benefits are leading to low desirability and high turnover rates for these jobs.

This new insight into nursing home employees will be helpful in allowing nursing homes to realize how to care for and better serve their patients and staff. With this in mind, nursing homes may be able to modify their practices and staffing procedures to decrease their incidents of negligence, abuse, and 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 office at 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.

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.

US Senate Talks About Fraud and Scams Targeted at Seniors

Have you read the report by the US Senate's Special Commission on Aging? They identified the top 10 frauds that target our seniors across the country.  Here is the list that they compiled:


  • IRS Impersonation Scams
  • Sweepstakes Scams
  • Robocalls / Unwanted Phone Calls
  • Computer Tech Support Schemes
  • Identity Theft
  • Grandparent Scams
  • Elder Financial Abuse
  • Grant Scams
  • Romance Scams / Confidence Fraud
  • Home Improvement Scams

Have you or someone you know been a victim of one of these scams? When most people think of elder abuse, they think solely about physical abuse or neglect.  However, financial abuse is just as common as those other types, if not more so!  The financial effects from being a victim of a scam can be long-lasting, devastating, and emotionally debilitating. 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.

Phone Scammers Target Elderly

Recently, phone scammers have been targeting Pennsylvania seniors across the state.  An article by GoErie.com highlighted this phenomenon, which is important for all elderly citizens and their family and friends to know about!  According to the article, a representative from the PA Department of Aging reported that these scams are not uncommon among their 52 area agencies, which represent all 67 PA counties.  Many of these scammers pretend to be calling on behalf of friends or family members who are having emergencies and need money sent to them.  If an unknown person does call, it is important to never give any personal information, credit card information or your social security number to anyone you don't know over the phone.

Elder abuse complaints can come in many forms, not just physical abuse.  Other, equally as damaging forms, of elder abuse can also occur.  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://www.goerie.com/news/20170123/dont-fall-victim-to-phone-scams

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.

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