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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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.  

Horrific Nursing Home Report In Our State

A Pennsylvania nursing home is under increased scrutiny after receiving complaints cockroaches, filthy conditions, and verbal abuse.  According to a news report published by ABC27, a Columbia, PA nursing home called  Susquehanna Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is providing substandard living conditions for its residents.  Former employees complained to supervisors about masses of cockroaches in the kitchens, among other problems.  After one employee was fired for speaking out, she posted a video on Facebook to show the conditions and warn the community about the problems. Former employees stated that they felt like the nursing home residents were not safe and were not being treated as human beings.  At that same time, the nursing home was found out of compliance eight times in the period of one year, including allegations of maggots and dirty wheelchairs.    


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.  


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 more from the original article, please click here:

http://abc27.com/2016/09/14/abc27-confronts-nursing-home-about-complaints-of-cockroaches-filth-verbal-abuse/

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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