Photo of Denise M. Mariani

Denise Mariani is an expert Civil Trial Attorney as certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Ms. Mariani is also the Chair of the Nursing Home Negligence practice at Stark & Stark.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal is asking for the general public’s help while investigating Nursing Home facilities. There have been multiple reports of misconduct in the homes. “We’ve lost too many lives of long-term care facility residents to COVID-19. Roughly half of all of our COVID-19 deaths statewide have been of individuals who had been within the long-term care system,” Grewal recently stated in a Coronavirus press briefing. With these unsettling statistics in mind, the Attorney General office is specifically investigating any “illegal activity or other misconduct involving a New Jersey-based LTC during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Continue Reading Nursing Home Reports Anonymous Link for General Public

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a growing awareness of systemic disparities across the United States, from small business support to healthcare access. One especially troubling issue centers on care for a particularly vulnerable population: elderly Americans living in assisted care facilities.

Continue Reading Pandemic Highlights Existing Problems in Nursing Home System

When a loved one goes into an assisted care facility, it’s the hope that they’ll receive the compassionate and attentive care they were promised. No one wants to think about the opposite happening: neglect, abuse, injury, or death.

This scenario recently made headline news when a great-grandmother in Puyallup, Washington sustained fatal injuries after falling from her bed.

Betty Torrey 95, fell from her bed at Able Care Adult Family Home on November 13, 2019, breaking her leg. She died 11 days afterward following complications from the injury. Police reports state that the staff left her laying on the floor of her room for 2 ½ hours after she fell, ignoring her cries for help.


Continue Reading Critical Care: Helping Your Loved Ones Navigate Care Facility Risks

The rise and spread of drug-resistant germs, including infections and funguses, has been tied to nursing facilities and long-term care facilities. Due to lack of staff training on infection procedures, understaffing, and not being equipped to deal with serious infections, patients wind up being cycled through the hospital and back again. As a result, these dangerous germs spread not just within the facility, but also to hospitals—with devastating results.

Continue Reading Nursing Homes Contribute to Spread Life-Threatening and Drug-Resistant Germs

After an “accidental” fall in a Brick Township, New Jersey nursing home landed an Alzheimer’s patient in the hospital, the patient’s daughter advocated for more protection of the elderly. The elder abuse regulations geared to prevent elder abuse are finally law.

Gov. Chris Christie signed Peggy’s Law (S-1219), named for Peggy Marzolla, in August of 2017. The law aims to protect senior citizens in nursing homes from abuse by requiring facility staff to promptly report suspected abuse and exploitation to law enforcement. Previously, staff members were only required to submit cases of abuse to New Jersey’s Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly, but not to the police.


Continue Reading Peggy’s Law Aims to Protect Nursing Home Residents from Abuse

Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs released inspection reports of 99 VA nursing homes across the country, and the results are staggering. Out of the 99 VA nursing homes inspected, 52 were cited for deficiencies that caused “actual harm” to veterans.

Continue Reading Over 50 VA Nursing Homes Found to Have Caused “Actual Harm” to Veterans

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing to discuss reports of abuse and neglect in some nursing homes across the country. The Committee also discussed how to protect these patients from abuse.

This hearing was held only weeks after a health care facility in Arizona discovered that one of their patients, a 29-year-old women in a vegetative state, had been raped. The pregnancy was discovered when the woman went into labor. In January, a 36-year-old nurse was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting and impregnating the woman.


Continue Reading U.S. Senate Holds Hearing to Examine Nationwide Nursing Home Abuse

Last week, two US Representatives introduced the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act. The goal of this bill is to increase Americans’ rights to seek justice and accountability through jury trials in the Court system as opposed to corporate sanctioned arbitration. The NJ State Constitution provides for a jury trial in cases involving money damages under the Seventh Amendment.

Continue Reading Democrat Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to End Forced Arbitration Clauses

A recent investigation by CNN brought to light the expanding and allegedly inappropriate use of the prescription drug Nuedexta in nursing homes throughout the country. Nuedexta is FDA-approved to treat a rare condition known as pseudobulbar affect (PBA).

What is Pseudobulbar Affect?

Pseudobulbar affect is characterized by sudden and uncontrollable laughing or crying. It is associated with people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALM), known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Avanir Pharmaceuticals has been aggressively targeting elderly nursing home residents with the drug, the CNN investigation found, although PBA reportedly impacts less than 1 percent of Americans, based on a calculation using the drug maker’s own figures

What the Investigation Revealed

Nuedexta prescription use in nursing homes is rising at a rapid rate, even though Avanir Pharmaceuticals acknowledges that the drug has not been extensively studied in elderly patients, according to CNN.


Continue Reading CNN Investigates Expanding Use of Nuedexta in Nursing Homes