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NJ Office of the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman Program

The Ombudsman's mission is to secure and protect the rights, and to promote the dignity, of ciztizens age sixty and older residing in long-term heath care facilities.

The Program seeks to enhance the quality of life, and improve the level of care provided to New Jersey's institutionalized elderly.

The Ombudsman will accept complaints from any source, and take action as necessary to secure, preserve and promote the health, safety and welfare, and the civil and human rights of elderly individuals living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential health care facilities, residential class "C" boarding homes, developmental centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and adult medical daycare centers.

The Ombudsman's Office is an advocacy agency exclusively representing the concerns of these elderly individuals. They also refer residents to other agencies or programs that provide advocacy services to seniors.

Contact the Ombudsman for Help

All residents, family members, friends, visitors or concerned persons are encouraged to contact the Ombudsman's Office with their concerns and complaints.

They will address complaints made by, or on behalf of residents of long-term health care facilities. Examples of residents' concerns include:

  • Violation of residents' rights or dignity;
  • Physical, verbal or mental abuse, deprivation of services necessary to maintain residents' physical and mental health, or unreasonable confinement;
  • Poor quality of car, including inadequate personalhygiene and slow response to requests for assistance;
  • Improper involuntary transfer or discharge;
  • Inappropriate use of chemical or physical restraints;
  • Financial exploitation

What Does the Ombudsman Do?

The Ombudsman's Office advocates for residents and helps to protect their rights, as described in N.J.S.A. 30:13-5 Nursing Home Resident's Bill of Rights.

The Ombudsman and staff can answer questions, provide information and handle complaints about residents' rights and other matters of concern to residents.

Dispute resolution is an important and essential function of the Ombudsman's Office. Prompt resolution of a complaint brings relief to the affected residents and provides assistance to the health care facilities in addressing the problems.

If a resident, a resident's legal guardian or legal representative or someone else has a concern, the Ombudsman's Office identifies, investigates and tries to resolve an issue. If they are unable to resolve an issue, referral to an appropriate resource is made.

The Ombudsman's Office can conduct public or private hearings, subpoena documents or personal testimony, and has full, unrestricted access to elderly residents of long-term health care facilities and their records.

All Ombudsman case files are confidential. Facility license or annual survey information can be obtained by calling the Department of Health, Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing at 1-800-792-9770.

Mandatory Reporting of Adult Abuse

Anyone can make a report to the Ombudsman, but certain professional individuals are legally required to do so: caretakers, social workers, physicians, registered nurses, other person who, as a result of information obtained in the course of employment, know or have reasonable cause to suspect than an institutionalized elderly person is being or has been abused or exploited. Persons reporting abuse or testifying in any adminstrative or judicial proceeding shall have imunity from civil or criminal liability.

We want to help you help your loved ones. Nobody deserves to be subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect. Contact Markman & Cannan today at 877-784-8782 for a free case evaluation.