Many of our cases involve terrible injuries and death as a result of neglect, negligence and abuse, such as bed sores, hip fractures and assaults. However, many of our clients and their families also complain about living in nursing homes that are just bad – a lousy building, freezing in the winter, hot in the summer, residents not being changed and bathed, broken plumbing, roaches and rodents, uncaring staff, or not enough nurses or CNAs. After receiving complaints, the nursing home promises to fix these problems and don’t. What can someone do in these circumstances? 

Know your rights.
New Jersey, like many other states, gives nursing home residents specific rights by law. If nursing homes infringe these rights they can be punished. Resident rights must be in writing, posted, and given to each nursing home resident when admitted. These are important rights, and include the right to:

  • a safe and decent living environment
  • privacy
  • considerate and respectful care
  • expect and receive appropriate assessment, management, and treatment of pain
  • unrestricted communication at any reasonable hour
  • unaccompanied right to a telephone 
  • obtain assistance in writing and reading letters
  • retain personal property
  • to wear your own clothes
  • present grievances on behalf of himself or others to the nursing home administrator

Make sure you have a copy of the law. You can view the full text online. If the nursing home is not meeting these rights, demand that they start doing what the law requires.