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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 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.  

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

Throwback Thursday: NO Granny Snatching?!

We've all heard of kidnapping, but what in the world is "granny snatching"?! Read more from our Throwback Thursday post below!

Information taken from Daily Local News article written on 7/23/2012 by Janet M. Colliton. Full story can be found by clicking this link.


Recently, the Pennsylvania legislative bodies passed a ruling outlawing "granny snatching" in Pennsylvania.  Formally known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, this law would address issues surrounding legal guardianship. Before this law was passed, instances of family members taking elderly relatives out of nursing homes or other facilities across state lines while legal guardianship battles were occurring was a fairly well-known occurrence.  This act, known as "granny snatching", was a significant problem for places like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 


The example given in the Daily Local News article gives a good example of the problems surrounding granny snatching: "Suppose, for instance, you apply for guardianship in Pennsylvania for your mother who has lived here all her life. Another relative or acquaintance, without your knowledge, signs her out of a personal care home or takes her from home and makes arrangements to transport her out of state. That person files for guardianship in another state. Without a uniform act where each state recognizes the other state's proceedings, the result could be a nightmare.  Decisions made in one jurisdiction might or might not be enforced in another. Each state could have conflicting orders."


As a result of these problems, many states passed the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. A nationwide legal guardianship law is also being considered so that all states operate under a consistent system. This national law, called the Uniform Guardianship Law,  would establish the concept of a "home state" for proper jurisdiction initially which will reduce confusion later on if the person under guardianship moves across state lines.

Prescription Errors in Nursing Homes

Many nursing home residents are on a variety of prescription drugs to regulate their medical conditions.  These drugs are recorded and administered by the staff of the nursing home.  However, the journey from the pharmacist to the patient is a way for medication errors to occur.  The general public is starting to hear about these errors and some cases are being nationally publicized.
An article by the New York Times exposed an investigation into nursing homes in California that have had a high number of prescription drug errors by pharmacists.  According to the article, "In reports obtained by a local newspaper, the department found that in 18 of the 32 investigations conducted in California nursing homes between May 2010 and June 2011 pharmacists failed to red-flag cases in which residents were inappropriately prescribed powerful antipsychotic medications like Seroquel, a drug used to treat schizophrenia. Pharmacists also overlooked or approved cases in which medications were prescribed at questionable levels or in unsafe combinations that could put patients at risk of seizures, accidents or even death, according to the public health department".    The United States Department of Health is also keeping an eye on this phenomenon after a recent study it conducted in which  it was found that, in nursing homes across the country, at least 40 percent of all Medicare claims for antipsychotics, are "inappropriate, given in excessive doses, given for too long, given without the need for use, without adequate monitoring or "in the presence of adverse consequences" and should be reduced or discontinued."
It is important to monitor your loved one's medication, including type and dosage, in order to help minimize the risk of injury or illness.  If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home setting and if you feel that the nursing home has improperly medicated your loved one, it may be time to seek legal assistance.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence. For more information on him and his firm, please call us at (814) 946-4100.

High Turnover 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 at 814-946-4100.

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