Monday, April 30, 2012

Sensor Systems Allow Seniors To Stay In Home

With much of the nation's population reaching retirement age, it is important for people to consider the many living options they may have in their older years. This being said, many seniors are opting to stay in their own homes as opposed to moving into a retirement home or assisted living facility.

In order to make staying at home in the later years of life possible, some companies have created new technology to alert family and caregivers if any problems come up.  The San Francisco Gate recently wrote an article about just such a technological advance. One of these new technological devices being offered are sensor systems.  One such system, marketed by ActiveCare, was designed specifically for seniors and those suffering from chronic illness. These sensor systems are installed throughout the home and then monitored by CareCenter specialists who can respond to the user's varying needs.  These needs may include eating habits (by putting sensors on the stove, fridge, or kitchen cabinets)  and could help specialists know when residents are not getting enough to eat.  This is especially helpful with patients who have a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer's disease.  Sensors may also be placed in the bathroom or bedroom to help monitor and respond quickly to possible slip-and-fall situations.  Other devices from the same company can also help manage pill distribution and take vital signs.  The people using ActiveCare sensor systems also have a mobile device that works as a GPS to help family find the residents if they become lost or disoriented.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please visit our website.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Accredited Nursing Homes Have Higher Safety Culture

Nursing homes are not all created equal.  In addition to having private or government-run facilities, nursing homes can either be accredited or not.  Sometimes the differences between the different types of facilities are not immediately clear, but you should research all possible options before making a decision.

A recent study from NYU suggests that accredited nursing homes report a stronger resident safety culture than nonaccredited facilities.  The study, looking at over 4,000 facilities across the country, cited Joint Commission accreditation as increasing awareness of patient safety issues like staff training, teambuilding, positive and open communication, and correction of mistakes without punitive measures. Few studies have examined the effect of accreditation on safety measures in nursing homes.  Additionally, studies by the same researchers also found that Joint Commission accredited long-term care facilities had fewer survey deficiency citations than nonaccredited facilities

 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 visit our website.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nursing Home Abuse Caught On Tape

An unfortunately common situation, elder abuse is one of the most painful and heart-wrenching situations a family may deal with.  Although elder abuse can come in many forms--emotional, sexual, physical, and financial--the mistreatment seems especially horrible when they are physical marks left behind.  Many nursing homes and caretakers are sued for some form of elder abuse every year, and Pennsylvania is no exception.  This may be due in large part to the rapidly growing elderly population in our state.

Other states also have significant problems with elder abuse reports.  A video taken in a New Jersey nursing home showing a caretaker physically abusing a paralyzed 87-year-old woman was recently released to the press.  Excerpts of the video may be viewed here. In the corresponding news article, more information was given about the incident.  According to the report, the family of the victim suspected abuse after seeing bruises on the victim's body.  as a result, they set up a secret "granny cam" in her room at the nursing home facility.  In the video footage, they caught a nursing aid ripping the oxygen mask off the victim's face, then hitting her on the head with it. Other staff members were also caught on tape abusing the woman. One nurse told the woman to die, while another "roughly tossed her around while changing the bed". The nursing home had no comment.

This case is just one of many that attorneys across the country come across in their practice.  Nursing homes can be dangerous places if not properly run and staffed.  If you suspect that you or a loved one is in a nursing home and is not receiving proper or appropriate care, it may be time to consult with an attorney.  Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence.  For more information on his practice, please visit our website.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Texting and Driving Ban Difficult to Enforce

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania passed a law that would make texting while driving a primary offense, punishable by a $50 fine. Although this law has been in effect since last month, many people still aren't aware of it or choose to continue to text while driving.

A recent article from the York Daily Record also talked about the difficulty that police are facing when trying to enforce this new legislation.  According to the news piece, "It's tough for officers to tell whether a driver is texting or punching in a phone number, which is allowed. Drivers are still allowed to talk on their cell phones. By the time officers can pull up to see what is happening, the driver is usually stopped at a stop sign. If the car isn't in motion, it's not illegal to be texting. Police can't seize the phone, either, to look and see whether it had been in use. Officers can obtain a search warrant to check the phone records, but that step probably wouldn't be taken unless it involved a crash."  Some police officers quoted in this article also say that the law is difficult to enforce because texting usually involves the head being down for a short period of time, which is  not long enough for an officer to be able to spot whether the person was texting or not.

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving the western and central Pennsylvania area.  One of his major areas of practice is injury or death due to motor vehicle accidents.  He has noticed a trend of accidents involving cell phone usage, both talking or texting, and urges you not to use your phone while driving and be wary of other drivers on the road who may be using their phones.  For more information on his law firm, please click here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Enbrel May Have Dangerous Side Effects

Chronic back pain is a debilitating condition that millions of people suffer from every day.  Pharmaceutical companies also realize this, and try to create and market drugs that will best meet the pain relief needs of these people.  Often, these drugs pass FDA approval and continue on to help people manage their pain needs. Other times, these drugs can turn out to have significant and possibly dangerous side effects.

Enbrel, a new back pain prescription drug, may fall into the latter category.  According to a recent story by CBS News, a recent study was conducted by Johns Hopkins University testing the effectiveness of this drug for sciatica pain. This particular drug is an anti-inflammatory medication that is delivered through injection.  Using 84 adult participants, this study showed that this drug did not significantly reduce pain symptoms, and in some cases, even led to increased feelings of disability. Some subjects who were given steroid injections instead found them to be more effective.  This is disappointing because Enbrel was created to reduce the risk associated with taking steroid medications.

Chronic pain is a serious and life-altering diagnosis.  If you have been having trouble with consistent pain lasting over six months, it might be time to consult with a doctor.  If this pain was caused by an accident due to the fault of another, it may also be time to consult with an attorney.   If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Want to Win $100?

Want to win $100 to Sheetz? Check out our Facebook contest, happening right now! Please find the details below:


  • If he can get 200 people to "like" his Facebook page, he'll randomly select a winner from his Facebook "likes" to receive a $100 Sheetz gift card!
  • If you also write a recommendation for him on his Facebook page, you'll get entered into the drawing 3 more times!

How can you enter the contest?
  1. "Like" his Facebook page, located here: Douglas V Stoehr, Attorney At Law
  2. For additional entries into the contest, write a recommendation for him on Facebook page by going to the right side of the page under "recommendations" (This is located underneath "__ number of friends "like" this page on the right hand side)
  3. Share this e-mail with your friends and post on Facebook to have them enter the contest, too!

Winner will be announced on or before June 1st! Thank you for your participation!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Device Results In Pain Relief Without Drugs

Chronic pain sufferers commonly take a variety of prescription medications to manage their pain symptoms.  In addition to potential drug addiction, many patients simply do not like taking the drugs because they feel tired or groggy as a side effect.  A new device has recently come out that may result in pain relief for these patients without taking prescriptions.

According to the American News Report, a new treatment has been developed called the "Calmare Pain Therapy Treatment".  The device involved in this treatment works to biophysically disrupt pain signals by using low doses of electricity to block pain at nerve endings. This, in turn, makes the body think that there essentially is no pain. This treatment is often used for cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy and now have neuropathy; however, the creators believe that this treatment can be used for other conditions involving chronic pain as well.  Unfortunately, this device is only available at 16 clinics in the United States.  Hopefully, it will become more widely available soon, so more patients can benefit from its use.

 Different diagnoses exist within the larger realm of chronic pain. Working with your physician and seeing what your exact diagnosis and treatment options are is the only way to find an effective, realistic pain management treatment.  If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Facebook May Influence Your Claim

A recent trend in legal matters is the acceptance of social media findings into the courtroom.  For many people, this means that their pictures, status updates, messages to friends, and other personal information may be used in court to either strengthen or weaken their case.  Employers are also getting involved in looking into their employee's social media circles, and some are requesting social media passwords of both employees and interviewees applying for jobs.  Employers may also request "shoulder surfing", where an employee/interviewee logs into their social media site and surfs through their profile and pages while their employer/interviewer is watching.  

This has many implications for clients pursuing a personal injury claim.  Similar to applying for a job or being an employee within a company, your social media activity is not as private or as protected as you may think.  For example, an innocent picture of you enjoying a short walk after your accident may be misconstrued as a full and complete recovery.  Additionally, posts/comments from friends suggesting that you're healthier than you really are may come across as you being insincere about your injury as well.  Social media may become dangerous for a case when certain pictures or comments are taken out of context and may be used against you.  For this reason, if you are hesitant about posting a picture or writing a comment that you feel may be used against your case, use discretion and do not post that item.  It may be even be better to not discuss your injury, and especially your legal claim, over Facebook at all.  The only way to keep your personal life as private as you want it to be is to not post anything you wouldn't want everyone to know about.

If you would like more information about this page or central Pennsylvania attorney Doug Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100.