Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a New Jersey Elder Abuse Attorney
Approximately 120,000 elders reside in a variety of long term care facilities in New Jersey. In most cases, they are in facilities because their care needs are so great that they can no longer remain at home and/or in a community-based setting. Such facilities include nursing homes, assisted living residences, resident group homes, etc. Many elderly persons suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of cognitive dementia. They are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable. The Federal Older Americans Act requires each state, including New Jersey, to establish and operate an Office of the Institutional Care Ombudsman; and carry out through this Office a Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. The Institutional Ombudsman responsibility under the Older Americans Act includes:
Federal law also requires that New Jersey protect the confidentiality of complaints and records, provide adequate legal counsel to the Ombudsman program, protect representatives of the Ombudsman from liability for the good faith performance of their duties, prepare an annual report, and provided training to Ombudsman representatives.
In 1977, the New Jersey legislature passed a law creating the Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly.
The basic objective of the Office is to promote, advocate and insure, the adequacy of the care received, and the quality of life experienced, by elderly patients, residents and clients of long term care facilities within New Jersey.
In the institutional setting, unlike in the community setting, professionals are mandated by law to report abuse and exploitation of elders. The Mandatory Adult Abuse Reporting Act was adopted in 1983, and requires that any caretaker, social worker, physician, registered or licensed practical nurse or other professional, who, as a result of information obtained in the course of his/her employment, has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that an institutionalized elderly person is being or has been abused or exploited, shall report such information obtained in a timely manner to the Ombudsman or the Ombudsman’s designee.
Another hallmark of the Office of the Ombudsman has been its attention to maintaining the confidentiality of all persons who have reported abuse and taken action under the provisions of the law. There is immunity when reporting suspected institutional patient abuse which can be overcome only with evidence of intent or reckless disregard in filing a false complaint.
So if you suspect abuse in an institutional setting remember you can confidentially call the ombudsman’s office and report your complaint privately and confidentially.
Have questions or a case involving institutional elder abuse in New Jersey? Contact Fredrick P. Niemann, a NJ elder abuse law attorney toll-free at
(855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He will sit and discuss your particular case and help you evaluate whether an actionable case of elder abuse exists.
Early Dementia, Alzheimer’s. My Mom’s health deteriorated to the point she required full-time care. She wanted to live at home, but required regular help with the essentials of daily living (i.e. dressing, bathing, etc.). As her caregiver daughter, the responsibilities fell on me to figure out what to do. Thank goodness for Hanlon Niemann and Mr. Niemann.
He met with me and explained all of my options for my mom, from at home/community care, assisted living, state, county and local programs for the elderly, financial eligibility for benefits, Medicaid qualification, pharmaceutical assistance, utility aid, Medicare and Veteran’s benefits, etc. While I felt overwhelmed by it all, Mr. Niemann clearly was in control of what could be done for Mom. We engaged him to make applications for subsidized at-home care and assistance through available grant programs and as part of his services to us, he is counseling us on a reverse mortgage, income and financial products to enhance Mom’s monthly income and to reduce her expenses. Mom would tell me to let Mr. Niemann make all the decisions although I am her Power of Attorney. I value so much his confident and generally caring manner. If you’re trying to help your Mom, Dad or family member deal with a life changing health condition, call Hanlon Niemann. I’m glad I did and so is Mom.
Mary Layton – Farmingdale, NJ
Nursing Home, Assisted Living Abuse | Institutional Elderly |
Assisted Living in New Jersey | Group Residential Home