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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

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/

Just How Common Are Nursing Home Falls?

The possibility that a resident of a nursing home may fall is a very real, serious danger.  Every year approximately 1,800 senior citizens living in nursing homes die from fall-related injuries.  To illustrate this point a little further, the CDC has compiled numbers that are shocking, to say the least.  Only about 5% of adults 65 or older live in a nursing home, but nursing home residents account for about 20% of deaths from falls in this age group.  A resident in a nursing home typically falls more than once, with the average resident having about 2.6 falls per year. 

A fall in a nursing home can be caused by any number of reasons, but the most common include:

1)    muscle weakness and walking problems account for approximately 24% of falls;

2)    environmental hazards like wet floors and incorrect bed height cause 16% to 27% of falls; and

3)    poorly fitting shoes and improperly used walking aids round out the list. 

Falls can be prevented with a combination of treatment, rehabilitation and environmental changes.  Nursing homes are required by law to supervise their residents and provide assistive devices to prevent falls from occurring.  However, as the statistics make clear, falls continue to be a constant threat to nursing home residents, and sometimes those falls can be attributed to the nursing home's negligence.   

If you believe that you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect 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 this form of nursing home neglect 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. 

Holiday Gift Services Makes Great Difference For Seniors in Doylestown Area Community

Wow, what a great idea to help our state's nursing home residents during the holiday season!  A Doylestown-based nonprofit organization called Wrapping Presence recently spent the day helping area nursing home residents pick out gifts from new and donated items to wrap for Christmas and Hanukkah presents.  This is a really special service, especially for those residents who cannot physically or mentally get to a store, pick out presents for their family and friends, and stand in line.  The staff at the nursing home spent several weeks ahead of time figuring out what their residents may be interested in giving as gifts, and tried to coordinate the donations to meet their wishes.  The donations of gifts and money towards gifts had been a year-long fundraising process, culminating with this event where the seniors were able to pick out their gifts.  The event was arranged with the help of over 650 volunteers who work with 19 nursing homes in the Doylestown area. 


This is a great service for our state's nursing home residents, especially considering that many of them suffer from seasonal or ongoing depression.  Every year, thousands of these elderly Americans make their way into nursing homes or other residential care facilities.  Although they may have moved there for a variety of reasons, most of these people experience some kind of psychological distress during their stay in one of these facilities.  Some of the most common shared types of psychological distress experienced by these residents are depression and loneliness. 


According to researchers, when elderly patrons are first admitted to nursing homes, many undergo a period of depression within the first 10 days. This is more severe in people who are coming from a home environment as opposed to those that are coming from a hospital environment.  Experts think that this period of depression is due to part to a loss of autonomy, loss of personal possessions, and a lack of familiar environment.


The adjustment process from home to a nursing home can take anyway from three to six months, and some residents never fully adjustment or get over symptoms of depression. Exciting and life-affirming activities, such as Wrapping Presence, helps seniors gain back some of their independence and joy.  


Depressed residents are often disengaged or disinterested in activities most of the day and do not seem to want to participate in either formal or informal activities put on by the nursing home community.  It should be noted that, unfortunately, your loved one's depressive symptoms could also be a result of abuse or neglect at the hands of the nursing home staff.  Although not all depressive symptoms are a direct result of abuse, if you suspect that an elderly loved one has been abused while in the care of another, it could be time to take legal action.  
 
If you would like more information about this page or Attorney Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100.

Throwback Thursday: What Are Standards Of Care?

What exactly ARE nursing home standards of care? How do they affect your loved ones in nursing homes? What legal rights do you have in this regard? Read more through this week's Throwback Thursday blog post!

Standards of care in nursing homes is an area that many do not fully understand.  Most people unfamiliar with nursing home practices or the health profession assume that the care they hear about is common, standard practice.  Unfortunately, some of the cases people hear about is actually below the official standards of care.  

 

Standards of care established by nursing homes is the minimum level of care a patient should expect to receive in that institution.  Fortunately, some nursing homes treat patients at a level above their mandated standards of care.  On the other side of that statement, many patients also regularly receive care that is below the minimums set by the applicable federal and state regulations.  Furthermore, because so many nursing homes deliver substandard care, they tend to rationalize their choices by comparing themselves to other nursing homes in the area (who are also tending to deliver substandard care). Obviously this is negligence and will lead to injuries.  

 


In addition to not meeting standards of care as a whole throughout the facility, other factors need to also be considered.  For example, the minimum standard of care from one patient to the next may be very different on a day-to-day basis.  A wheelchair-bound resident may need more care daily than a fully mobile resident might need; however, they are both held to the same, general standards of care.  All nursing homes must have individual care plans for every resident to meet these varying needs, but they should also be aware that these care plans need to meet minimum standards of care for the overall facility.  With this in mind, it is important to research the many options available to your family if you are deciding to put a loved one into a nursing home. By gaining the most information possible, you can make the best decision to avoid elder abuse and substandard care.

 

Substandard care in a nursing home often leads to neglect and injuries.  Nursing home litigation is a relatively new field of negligence law.  We suggest you consult with an attorney who understands the complex federal and state regulations that apply to care plans in nursing homes.    For more information on Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania law firm, please visit our website  or call us at (814) 946-4100.

Nursing Home Investigation Continues in PA

Do you remember our earlier blog posts about the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office suing many PA nursing homes that are owned by Golden Living Centers?  Well, the numbers of the nursing homes being investigated are continuing to grow.  Check out the latest reports of horrendous elder abuse and neglect coming from this state-wide investigation. 
According to a news report by ABC27.com, the Golden Living chain is under accusations of leaving their residents without adequate food and water, and residing in filthy living conditions.  Some of the Golden Living centers that have recently come under investigation were not part of the original lawsuit, but were added to the list after people called in and complained about the conditions in the other facilities.  One person within the news article mentioned that she didn't feel safe with the standard of care that her father, a Golden Living resident, was receiving.  She noted that staff members did not always respond to patient alarms, and the facility in which he resided generally appeared run down.  Another report stated that a woman who was visiting her mother found maggots infesting one of her wounds. There are 36 Golden Living centers in Pennsylvania, and as of this blog post, it appears that 25 of them are currently undergoing investigation by the state. 
Some of the information released by the PA Attorney General's office include reports of residents left to sit in their own feces, staff members who are falsifying medical records, and a lack of response to emergency calls.  In response, Golden Living released this statement to abc27: "Golden Living remains confident that the claims made by the Attorney General are baseless and wholly without merit. All of our living centers are in compliance with legal requirements as determined by the two agencies that have oversight of our industry."
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.

Throwback Thursday: Elder Abuse Nationwide

In our second week, it's Throwback Thursday on our blog!  Take some time to read one of our most popular blogs form several years ago.  It highlights the important issue of elder abuse on the national scale!  Please read the original article below:

Unknown to many, an organization known as the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), is a branch of the Administration on Aging.  The NCEA has compiled a wealth of information regarding elder abuse across the country and where our country seems to be headed on the topic in the future. Some of the most interesting results of their research can be found below.  I strongly urge you to check out their website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Library/Data/index.aspx for more information and to read the entire compilation!
Here are some interesting pieces of data collected by the NCEA:
  • The 2010 US Census recorded both the greatest number and proportion of people 65+ years old in the entire census history.  This amounts to 40.3 million elderly residents.
  • By 2050, the population will most likely be 20% comprised of people aged 65 and older.
  • Data from the Adult Protective Services (APS) reports an increase in the number of reports of elder abuse in the past several years. They expect that this trend will continue.
  • Only about 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.  Some report this statistic to be as high as 1 in 24 cases. 
  • Financial exploitation is the highest self-reported form of elder abuse.  
  • The majority of those who engage in elder abuse are family members, at a percentage of about 90% of all reported elder abuse cases. 
  • The proportion of abuse of the elderly with disabilities is particularly high, as well as those with dementia and those who live in nursing homes or long-term assisted living facilities.
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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