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Key patient's rights in New Jersey nursing homes

Before placing a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility, New Jersey families are likely to feel a host of different emotions - sadness, confusion, longing for times past and even a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Finding the right nursing home can be a difficult task, but it's important to know that regardless of which nursing home a family chooses, their loved one has key rights regardless.

If a loved one in a nursing home complains of loss of privacy, subpar hygiene, slow responses to requests for help, or even other people taking advantage of them sexually, financially or otherwise, these may be red flags that the nursing home is not doing its job. In some cases residents may be harmed by nursing home neglect or abuse; in the worst scenarios a patient may even become the victim of wrongful death due to mistreatment or negligence. It's important that families know their rights and the rights of their elderly relatives.

Some of the rights enumerated in the New Jersey Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights include the right to be fully informed of such rights prior to admission into a nursing home, the right to keep and use their own personal belongings, the right to access personal funds being held by the facility, the right to issue a complaint about the facility, the right to have private visits with oved ones, the right to receive mail, the right to confidentiality regarding one's medical information and many more.

Death by negligence in a nursing home may not only be a serious violation of a nursing home patient's bill of rights, but also an irresponsible act or inaction that results in a civil lawsuit. Doctors, nurses, and administrators of nursing homes, as well as caretaker staff and others, may be held accountable for lack of care or abuse that residents may suffer in a local facility. Nursing home deaths can be investigated with the help of an experienced New Jersey wrongful death attorney.

Source: New Jersey Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, "Nursing home residents' bill of rights," accessed Aug. 29, 2016

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