Tuesday, December 27, 2011

PA Among Top States For Elderly Residents

According to the 2010 United States Census, Pennsylvania continues to rank among the top states for the percentage of the elderly population.  Pennsylvania's population of elderly citizens is about 15.4%, which is above the national average of 13%.  This should come as no surprise, as Pennsylvania traditionally ranks high among states in this area.

Although older Pennsylvania residents typically live comfortably and safely in our state, we also have significant reports of elder abuse in the state as well.  Whether in a nursing home, residential care facility, or at-home care, elderly PA residents are susceptible to elder abuse.  Elder abuse can come in many forms, such as physical, emotional/psychological, financial, and sexual.  It is prudent as a close family or friend to keep an eye on an elderly person that is being cared for by another to make sure that the are being treated properly. 

Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving clients in western and central Pennsylvania.  He is experience with claims involving older Pennsylvanians, most often in regard to nursing home abuse and negligence, hospital negligence, and slip and fall injuries.  For more information on Attorney Stoehr and his law firm, please click here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Highmark-UPMC Agreement Continues Into 2013

Throughout the year,  our blog highlighted the ongoing debate between UMPC, one of western Pennsylvania’s largest physician networks, and Highmark, a health insurance giant in western Pennsylvania.  The two companies had been in negotiation for months about renewing their contracts for the upcoming renewal period on their contract.  Through a series of lawsuits, legal arrangements, and negotiations between both parties, patients using both UPMC and Highmark services will be able to receive both services until 2013.
The latest update involved an agreement by both companies in which patients insured by Highmark, but using UPMC doctors, will continue to be able to use both companies' services until 2013.  This is an extension of the original agreement, in which services were scheduled to stop between the companies in 2012.  Both parties are still not clear about how they will be serving their patients together after their contract period ends in 2013.  Both parties also issued statements which can be viewed by clicking on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's link at the beginning of this paragraph.
If you have Highmark insurance and are also a patient within the UPMC Healthcare system, Attorney Doug Stoehr advises you to carefully examine any correspondence that your health insurance and medical provider may send you.  It is important to be as knowledgeable as possible about what you are entitled to from your insurance company and your healthcare provider, especially when major changes are occurring within those systems.

Attorney Stoehr is a lawyer specializing in personal injury and services the western and central Pennsylvania area.  If you would like to consult with him about a possible personal injury claim, please contact our law office.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Teenage Driving By The Numbers

For a teenager, finally getting your driver’s license is an exciting milestone in your high school life.  With their own license, teenagers are able to have more freedom to visit their friends, attend sporting events, and participate in activities and events around town.  Although getting a driver’s license is a fun and exciting time, teenage drivers can also be more likely to cause or be involved in serious accidents.  Teenage drivers are sometimes more reckless with their driving, including driving while using their phone, texting behind the wheel, speeding, or disobeying the rules of the road.

As mentioned above, new and inexperienced teenage drivers are much more likely to be involved an accident that will harm themselves and/or others.  Take a look at the following statistics and facts regarding teenage drivers and automobile accidents.  According to the CDC:

·       Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, with more than one in three deaths in this age group.
·       Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations.
·       In 2009, eight teenagers aged 16 to 19 died every day from automobile accident injuries. 
·       For every mile driven, teen drivers aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.
·       In 2008, 1/4 of drivers aged 15 to 20 who died in car crashes had a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
·       Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (distance between cars).

If you or a loved one have been injured or another has been killed as the result of a new and inexperienced driver, it may be time to take legal action.  Although not all teenagers are poor drivers, there are many instances at which a new driver may be at fault for an accident or injury.  If you would like more information about this page or Attorney Stoehr’s areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Depressed Elders in Nursing Homes

Currently in the United States, there are more citizens over the age of 65 than there are teenagers.  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.  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.  Unfortunately, your loved one’s depressive symptoms could also be a result of abuse at thehands 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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nursing Homes and Loneliness

Many of our country’s elderly citizens now reside in nursing homes or residential care facilities.  Although nursing homes can be a good environment for some residents, others often experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression after being admitted to the facility.  Too often, these feels last and become chronic feelings that negatively impact the quality of life of the elderly person.

Some researchers say that up to 84% of the elderly population suffers from loneliness, and 20-25% of nursing home residents are also depressed.  Unfortunately, depression and isolation often go untreated in nursing home facilities because it is difficult to accurately assess.  

According to the experts, nursing home residents also have few opportunities for formal and informal social activities.  As a result of this, many of the residents experience feelings of prolonged isolation and loneliness.  One research study mentioned the fact that, in some nursing homes, there was formal staff engagement in social activities only 10% of the time.  The rest of the time, residents had to create their own social engagements or organize their own activities.
Unfortunately, your loved one’s isolation and loneliness could also be a result of abuse at the hands of the nursing home staff.  Although these symptoms are not always 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.  Contact an experienced elder abuse lawyer, Attorney Doug Stoehr, for more information about your possible legal claim.
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. Home and hospital visits can be arranged. Evening and weekend hours are available for your convenience.