In general, there are four options for reporting nursing home abuse or complaints.
While you need to act fast to protect your loved ones, the law is on your side. If possible, talk to the patient and create a written record of their concerns. Keep in mind that often, patients are reluctant to share stories of abuse out of fear that there will be retribution by the nursing home. Unless you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, you should try and work with the nursing home facility.
Option 1: Contact The Nursing Home
Take immediate action by reporting any signs of abuse to the nursing home administrators. By law, they are obligated to address your complaints. If you are concerned that reporting a problem will lead to retribution, additional abuse, or staff to patient bullying, then escalate the complaint by contacting the New Jersey State Ombudsman.
Option 2: Contact The New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman
The New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly is part of a national resident-focused advocacy program that seeks to protect the health, safety, welfare, and civil and human rights of older individuals in institutions. Staff and volunteers work with individual residents to help them address challenges they face or complaints that need resolution.
If you (or someone you know) lives in a long-term care facility and has a problem or concern, the office will investigate, resolve, and refer complaints to the appropriate agency. By law, callers may remain anonymous, and case files are closed to the public.
By Phone: 1 (877) 582-6995
The Office of the Ombudsman
P.O. Box 852
Trenton, NJ 08625-0852
Option 3: Contact A New Jersey Based Nursing Home Malpractice Attorney
After using option 1 and 2 above, if the allegations are founded, adult protective services will try to remedy the problems and prevent their recurrence. However, there may be situations where the victim or the victim’s family do not feel satisfied or justly compensated for the injury or indignity suffered at the hands of the nursing home.
In such cases, the resident or resident’s family member should speak to an attorney about bringing a civil action for damages against the nursing home. Also, the circumstances may warrant criminal prosecution.
If nursing home employees acted negligently, they may be held liable for any resulting damages. Available damages include:
- Payment for medical bills
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Compensation for disfigurement and disability
In some cases, punitive damages are available, which deters the nursing home or any defendants from harming others by engaging in similar conduct. Grounds for filing a nursing home dispute legal claim include:
- Negligent hiring
- Medication or care errors
- Inadequate training
- Abuse by third parties that operate in the residence (or even by other residents)
- Breach of statutory rights (residents are entitled to privacy, dignity, and autonomy)
Consult with a member of the Howard Law legal team to learn more at (201) 488-4644 or request an appointment by filling out the form below.