Deficiencies in Care Spark a Package of Bills to Improve Conditions at State-run veterans Homes
An assembly panel on June 14 approved a package of bills meant to address ongoing problems within New Jersey’s three veterans nursing homes, says a NJ.com article. Issues related to poor management, communication breakdowns, and other problems came to the fore during the pandemic, during which over 200 people across the three veterans homes perished as a result of COVID-19.
The eight-bill package of bills approved by the Members of the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs looks to address issues within the state-run Memorial Veterans Homes in Vineland, Paramus, and at Menlo Park in Edison, from which complaints have surfaced concerning poor quality of care, a failure to implement basic safety pandemic precautions, and even hostile living environments. According to the NJ.com article, Menlo Park resident council president Glenn Osborne claimed in a letter to Sen. Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, that residents in the home have been subject to “an unrelenting amount of harassment, retaliation and just plain willful and purposeful neglect.”
The bills to improve conditions at state-run veterans homes would require the following:
- Mandatory clinical experience working in a long-term care facility for veterans home administrators and for the Director of the Division of Veterans’ Health Care Services
- Improved communication between facilities and families, including quarterly town hall-style meetings to be held by the department with residents’ guardians, and the establishment of two documented ways for facilities to contact residents’ guardians (e.g. mail, email, text, phone calls)
- During a public health emergency:
- That residents have the ability to leave the home without losing their place in the home
- That weekly reports are sent from the department’s Adjutant General to the state Department of Health in order to report PPE levels and changes in operating procedures
- That each home employ a resident advocate to communicate problems or issues from residents to the director of the Division of Veterans’ Health Care Services in Trenton, and that the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman have the authority to review staffing records
Securing Your Loved One in Every Circumstance
The Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives is required to meet every health and safety standard. Beyond this, Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes must also secure the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents. Should you have concerns about the quality of care in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.