No one should have to endure abusive care, including those who are living in a nursing home setting in New Jersey. At Cooper Levenson, P.A., we work to hold negligent parties accountable when they neglect or otherwise harm patients. If you have a loved one in such a facility, you need to know what to do if you suspect that wrongdoing is taking place.
According to the Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, any professional, such as a doctor or social worker, who learns of abuse in nursing homes is required to report it or else face a fine of $5,000. Abuse under these terms is defined as the following:
- Any instance of intentionally causing mental anguish or physical harm or injury
- Any instance of intentionally withholding necessary services
- Any instance of keeping a resident in unreasonable confinement
If you have reason to believe that any of the above has taken place, you need to report it immediately. When the threat of harm is imminent, you should call local law enforcement. You can also contact the Office of the Ombudsman, which will investigate the complaint to determine what took place. The ombudsman will either resolve the issue or refer it to the appropriate agency.
New Jersey’s Department of Human Services also operates adult protective service programs in every county. According to the DHS, a social worker will launch an investigation within 72 hours of your complaint. Both the DHS and the Office of the Ombudsman will keep your information and case confidential.
Addressing potential abuse or neglect immediately is key to protecting your loved one. For more information on this topic, please visit our page regarding nursing home claims.