When you suspect that your loved one is being neglected or abused in their nursing home there are a few options to report the abuse. You can file a complaint with Adult Protective Services, contact the local authorities, and the Department of Health. You can also discuss your legal options with a New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney.
You or your loved one can file a complaint. Any and all citizens can also file a complaint of abuse if they are witnesses to or suspect there is abuse present within a nursing home facility. In New Jersey, any licensed health professional is required to report suspected abuse, exploitation, or neglect.
If your loved one is in immediate danger the first thing you will need to do is contact the local authorities so they can get them to a hospital. If they are not in immediate danger then you should report the abuse or neglect to other agencies.
Nursing home facility
The first step is to document any instance of the abuse with dates, times, and what you noticed. You will also need to file the complaint in writing with the nursing home so there is a paper trail. If there are signs of physical abuse you should take photographs. The nursing home will conduct an investigation into your complaint and come to a resolution in most cases. If they do not you will need to take further action, including contacting a New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney.
Adult protective services
You can file a complaint by calling the state hotline at 609-588-6501. The moment you file a complaint a social worker will visit the facility within 72 hours to speak with your senior loved one.
Department of Health
Another option for filing a complaint is contacting the New Jersey Department of Health. They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and can be reached at 1-800-792-9770 or by filing a complaint online. You can also file a complaint by fax. There are a few things you will need when you file a complaint including:
- A description of the injuries or the condition of the patient
- Photographs of the abuse if you have them
- Dates and times when the abuse occurred
- A statement from the patient if possible
- Documentation that a complaint was filed with the nursing home
What kind of abuse can be reported?
There are various kinds of abuse that your loved ones may suffer from when they are in a nursing home. Some include:
- Physical abuse: This will show as cuts, torn clothing, scratches, bedsores, bruises, and more.
- Neglect: This often appears as malnutrition, lack of cleanliness, lack of socialization, not administering medications, etc.
- Sexual abuse: When your loved one participates in sexual acts they did not consent to.
- Emotional abuse: This can look like insults, humiliation, intimidation, and threatening of a patient. You will notice a change in your loved one's personality, signs of depression, or anxiety.
- Financial abuse: Some facilities are authorized to provide financial planning and assistance for their patients. If there are unauthorized withdrawals or changes made to an account this is a sign there may be financial abuse at play.
You will need an experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse attorney to build a strong case and hold the negligent parties responsible for their actions.