The Office of the New Jersey Long Term Care Ombudsman (NJLTCO) was established under the federal Older Americans Act (1965) and exists to advocate for residents of New Jersey’s 350+ nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The NJLCTO Office is responsible for investigating complaints of nursing home-related abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and harassment, among other things, throughout the state.
The NJLTCO recently published a pamphlet entitled “Protect Yourself from Questionable Nursing Home Financial Practices” that highlights some oft-encountered issues that may give you or your loved ones reasonable cause for concern. See link to pamphlet HERE.
Some of the examples cited in the new pamphlet include:
- Nursing homes asking cognitively impaired residents to sign financial and/or legal paperwork;
- Nursing homes asking the Social Security Administration to re-direct the resident’s monthly Social Security income to the facility without prior approval of the resident and/or his/her legal representative;
- Threatening discharge from a facility due to circumstances that should never result in discharge;
- Purchasing pre-paid funeral arrangements without the consent of the resident and/or his/her legal representative;
- Canceling or subscribing to new insurance policies without the appropriate notice and consent of the resident and/or his/her legal representative.
Unsurprisingly, this pamphlet is being circulated in the wake of several high-profile cases involving nursing homes accused of engaging in one or more of the above questionable activities. Although many of these cases involved nursing home residents with no (or minimal) family involvement and support, it can happen to anyone. Therefore, all individuals and families who have loved ones in nursing homes should read the NJLTCO’s pamphlet and continue to be attentive to their loved one’s financial, legal and medical affairs. If questionable practices are or become evident, please contact the NJLTCO Office at 1-877-582-6995.