Understanding Your Rights in a New Jersey Nursing Home
The rise of Covid-19 has highlighted the fact that residents in nursing homes are still vulnerable. Although many nursing homes across New Jersey are run safely and professionally, others have ultimately failed to provide a stable, healthy living environment for its residents. In 2020, it was reported that over 5,300 nursing home residents had passed away during the pandemic. This tragedy was caused by shortages in staff, resources, and supplies.
This is obviously unacceptable, and nursing homes that fail in this manner must be held accountable. Whether you are a resident of a nursing home or you have a loved one who is currently living in one, you should consider legal action if you feel that certain obligations have not been met. When you team up with an experienced attorney who understands elder law, it becomes easier to pursue lawsuits and other forms of legal action. With all that said, the first step is to understand your rights as a nursing home resident in New Jersey.
What are My Rights?
Your rights as a nursing home resident in New Jersey are clearly laid out in the state’s legislature. These rights are divided into a number of sections:
- Planning Care: You have the right to be involved in your own care plan. You can designate other people who will be involved in this planning process, and you can establish your own goals regarding care. You also have the right to request meetings and changes to your care plan.
- Medical Care: You have the right to the services of a physician (at your own expense or through a health care plan). You can also refuse medical treatment, self-administer medications, and access your own medical records.
- Abuse: You have complete freedom from physical and mental abuse. This includes corporal punishments and restraints of any kind.
- Finances: You have the right to manage your own finances. You also have the right to receive quarterly written accounts of your funds and property, and you can access your funds on a daily basis.
- Environment: You have the right to live in a clean, safe, and comfortable environment. This includes being treated with respect, being allowed to wear your own clothes, being provided with hygiene products, selecting your own roommate, and keeping your own personal property.
- Privacy: You have the right to personal privacy, including intimate interactions with other people. Your medical records must also be kept confidential.
- Communication: You have the right to regular communication with people of your choosing. This includes access to mail, telephones, and the internet.
- Visits: You have the right to make your own schedule and meet with any visitors at any time. You have the right to take part in activities, such as religious events. You are also allowed to leave the nursing home during the day or for overnight visits.
- Meals: You must be provided with a well-balanced diet. You can provide input on the menus, and you must receive at least three meals a day – not including alternative, additional meals and snacks.
This is not a complete list of your rights, and if you feel like you are being mistreated, you should speak with a qualified attorney who can identify precisely which rights are being violated.
Taking Legal Action
If your rights are being violated, you have the right to take legal action against the responsible party. Reach out to Giro, LLP, Family Attorneys at Law today, and we will fight for your rights as a valued member of our society.