What Are the Standards of Care for Nursing Homes in NJ?

What Are the Standards of Care for Nursing Homes in NJ?The elderly depend on nursing homes to provide them with shelter and care around the clock when their family members and loved ones are not able to. While it is never a simple or easy step to make the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home, you should know that there are certain rules and regulations that nursing homes are required to follow. If the nursing home fails to uphold its responsibilities, your elderly family member or loved one has rights, and you can help them pursue legal action if needed.

New Jersey has put in place certain laws to protect elderly residents who live in nursing homes across the state. The goal of these laws is to prevent long-term care and nursing home abuse by requiring nursing homes to maintain a specific standard of care and giving the residents rights. Here are some of the standards of care for nursing homes in Cherry Hill and other New Jersey cities and towns:

  • Must have a certain amount of trained staff who are available: According to J. Stat. § 30:13-18, there must be one nurse aide to every eight residents during the daytime shift, one direct care staff member to every 10 residents during the evening shift, and one direct care staff member to every 14 residents during the nighttime shift. The direct care staff members during the evening and night shifts must be able to provide the same level of care as a nurse aide.
  • Must be able to meet the needs of each resident: J. Admin. Code § 8:39-11.1 explains that there must be an assessment of each resident to determine their needs and create a proper care plan. Every resident has unique and different needs, which means that nursing homes may need to change their staff schedules, room arrangements, meal choices, and other factors to meet a resident’s needs. The care plan must be implemented within 21 days of the resident’s admission to the long-term facility.
  • Must help residents maintain their hygiene: Most residents enter nursing homes because their family members or loved ones can no longer provide adequate assistance with bathing, showering, and other basic hygiene routines. Therefore, it is the nursing home’s duty to help patients bathe, shower, change clothes, take care of their dental needs, change and make their beds, and more.
  • Must be able to ensure that residents eat a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated throughout the day: According to J. Admin. Code § 8:39-17.4, every resident must receive food and beverages based on a doctor, nurse, or a dietician’s recommendations. All food must be served at the proper temperature, and if a resident refuses the food during their scheduled mealtimes, there must be substitute food options available. When a food tray is delivered, staff members are required to provide assistance in eating within 15 minutes. Personal preferences, cultural backgrounds, and nutritional needs should all be taken into consideration when selecting food for each resident, and beverages must be available at all times unless a physician says otherwise.
  • Must provide necessary medications and medical services to residents: J. Admin. Code § 8:39-23.2 states that doctors or advanced nurses are required to review each resident’s medical information every 30 days to make sure that all medical needs are being met. When it comes to medications, nursing homes must have staff that can provide all daily and necessary medications to residents “24 hours a day, seven days a week.” N.J. Admin. Code § 8:39-29.2 requires medications to be “administered and documented by properly authorized individuals.” A resident is allowed to self-administer medications as long as they are qualified to do so.
  • Must develop and follow a plan to prevent and control infections among both residents and staff members: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides updated information and guidelines on certain infections that may pose a risk to residents or staff members in long-term care facilities. Some of the infections mentioned in J. Admin. Code § 8:39-19.4 are Urinary Tract Infections, Nosocomial Pneumonia, Intravascular Infections, and Tuberculosis.

What rights does a nursing home resident have?

By taking the time to learn and understand the rights that nursing home residents have, you will know when your family member or loved one’s rights have been violated and when it is time to take legal action against the nursing home. The following are 10 of the most important rights that residents in long-term care facilities have:

  1. To receive medical services from a doctor or nurse of their choosing
  2. To refuse medications or medical treatment after being fully informed by a doctor or nurse about the consequences that may arise from refusing
  3. To be free of all types of abuse, including mental, physical, and emotional abuse
  4. To live in a clean and safe facility
  5. To be treated with kindness and respect
  6. To keep and have access to his or her own property
  7. To have privacy when needed or requested
  8. To make phone calls and send mail whenever desired
  9. To have visitors between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. each day
  10. To complain or make remarks about anything without fear of being punished

To learn more about the rights that nursing home residents have, see N.J. Admin. Code § 8:39-4.1 or contact a New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer.

Who regulates nursing homes in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is responsible for regulating and licensing all nursing home facilities in New Jersey. Therefore, if you believe that a nursing home is not maintaining the needs and care of its residents, you can file a complaint with the NJDOH.

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Cherry Hill nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys from Ferrara & Gable at your earliest opportunity. We will look over your case and determine whether you and your loved one may receive compensation for the abuse, pain, or suffering that you have endured. Call our office or submit our contact form today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to begin discussing. Our team proudly serves all of South Jersey.

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