When New Jersey residents move a family member into a nursing home, they worry about finding a safe facility with compassionate caregivers. Our lawyers have advised clients who suspect inadequate nursing home care.

The New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman has issued a bill of rights for nursing home residents, setting out fundamental protections to guard against mistreatment.

Taking care of basic needs

Residents have the right to a safe, comfortable and clean environment. This includes the right to personal hygiene items and, if practical and safe, their own clothes.

They have the right to at least three meals daily. If your family member has cultural or religious dietary needs, you may ask the home to accommodate these needs. The facility may not charge for special meals ordered by a medical professional.

Spouses may share a room. You can help your family member demand a hearing to contest an undesirable change in room or roommate.

Providing appropriate health care

Your loved ones may direct their own health care and select their doctors. Residents may refuse medication and treatment, and they may prepare an advance directive that expresses their wishes in the event they become incapacitated.

Nursing homes may not use chemical or physical restraints, and residents must not suffer physical or mental abuse, involuntary seclusion or physical punishment.

Managing finances and communications

Residents may manage their own finances and have access to their money and property. They have the right to a quarterly accounting of funds and property held by the facility.

They must also have private access to a phone and reasonable access to email, video communications and the internet.

You can help your loved one create an individualized care plan that incorporates these rights, preserves their dignity and minimizes the risk of neglect or abuse. Our website has information about investigating nursing home abuse and neglect.