Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys In New Jersey
It is very challenging to understand when our loved ones who live in nursing home facilities are being endangered with wretched circumstances, including abusive treatment and negligence in facilities that are poorly administrated; staffed with individuals who are unqualified, undertrained, neglectful, and/or abusive; and that place finances over resident care. Typically, nursing home facilities that permit these behaviors do not, or under-report, instances of abuse and neglect.
Physical abuse is the most obvious type of abuse; however, the elderly may be mistreated, neglected, and abused emotionally and physically, as well. Potential signs of neglect and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse include bed sores; bleeding near or in the genital or anal areas; blood on the resident’s undergarments; broken bones; bruises, bruising seen in the breast, genital, and/or anal areas; clothing that is torn, dirty, or bloody; dehydration; dirty living conditions and dirty, torn bed sheets; emotional withdrawal; improper medication administration, including not administering medication; infections, chronic infections; lacerations; malnourishment; open wounds; unexpected, unexplained injuries; unexplained death; and venereal disease.
Nursing home abuse is horrific and cruel and many victims are unaware of what is happening to them due to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, under-medication, and over-medication, to name some. It is an unfortunate fact that family and loved ones seeking ethical and appropriate care for their senior relatives are often left with no other option than to place their family member in a nursing home and hope that the loved one is not subject to serious abuse and neglect, physical pain, emotional pain, humiliation, and death over inadequate care.
The New Jersey attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP believe that all people should be treated with dignity, especially the fragile elderly who are unable to protect themselves. Our firm has long been committed to ensuring appropriate, compassionate care for our New Jersey clients who are nursing home facility residents and to fight for their justice when proper care has not been given.
The World Health Organization (WHO) describes senior abuse as “a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation, and despair.” Such violations involve intentional actions that lead to serious risk of harm—intentional or not—to a senior by a caregiver or a person who is in a position of trust.
Federal Laws That Govern New Jersey Nursing Homes Facilities
Various federal laws have been enacted to safeguard nursing home residents against abuse and neglect and to ensure that resident privacy and security are maintained. Federally, in 1987, the United States Congress enacted legislation mandating all nursing home participating in Medicare and Medicaid to comply with precise rules. Nursing home facilities are federally mandated to follow these specific standards of care, which are detailed in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987, also known as the federal Nursing Home Reform Act.
The Act notes that nursing homes “must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” To participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must be in compliance with these federal requirements, which must be administered in a way in which the facility is able to effectively and efficiently utilize its resources.
Noncompliance is against federal law:
- Conduct an initial comprehensive and accurate assessment of every resident’s functional capacity and follow this up with an individualized, comprehensive care plan.
- Ensure that an appropriate level of nursing staff is consistently maintained; residents receive appropriate treatment and assistive devices to maintain vision and hearing; residents do not develop pressure sores and, if a resident is diagnosed with pressure sores, that required treatment and services are conducted to aid in infection healing and prevent new sores from developing; residents receive proper supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents; residents are free of significant medication errors; that all residents maintains his or her right to choose activities, schedules, and health care.
- Provide needed services to maintain healthy and appropriate nutrition, grooming, and oral hygiene to residents who are not able to carry out the activities of daily living; appropriate treatment and services to residents diagnosed with incontinence so that the most normal bladder functioning is restored; sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health; and pharmaceutical services for every resident.
- Maintain acceptable “parameters of nutritional status”; accurate, complete, and readily accessible clinical records; and dignity and respect to every resident.
- Promote each resident’s quality of life and prevent the deterioration of each resident’s ability to “bathe, dress, groom, transfer and ambulate, toilet, eat, and communicate.”
State Laws That Govern New Jersey Nursing Homes Facilities
From the perspective of states and nursing homes, those nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds are mandated to comply with federal nursing home regulations. In some cases, states may have enacted more stringent regulations, which must also be followed.
According to the New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights details specific rights concerning transfer or discharge; self-determination, which includes, in part, being “offered choices and allowed to make decisions important to you, to receive services with reasonable accommodations to individual needs and preferences, to participate in the planning of your care and services, to self-administer medications, and to accept or refuse care and treatment to choose your health care; access, which involves, in part, being “fully informed, both orally and in writing, of your rights and the facility’s rules before admission and during your stay in the facility, to be fully informed of the services available and related costs”; privacy; and complaints.
If You Have Questions About Filing A New Jersey Nursing Home Lawsuit
The attorneys Parker Waichman have a long history of successfully fighting New Jersey nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuits. If you or someone you know has been injured or died due to negligence or abuse at a New Jersey nursing home, the firm offers legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a lawsuit. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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